In the Bible (the book of Luke, I think) there is a story about a Jewish man who gets beaten, robbed, and left on the side of the road. A priest and a Levite (sounds like a joke, right?) walk past him without stopping to help. A Samaritan, a member of a group of people who weren’t the best of friends with the Jews, stopped and helped him. That’s the parable of the Good Samaritan. Love your neighbor.
I wonder if he had a wife?
Today I was out in my soccer-mom van, and my low tire pressure indicator light came on. I pulled into the fancy digital (and free!) air pump at Sheetz. I went around three of my tires and fixed them up. When I got to the fourth, I could NOT get the valve cap off. I couldn’t do it.
The tire wasn’t flat, so I thought, crap, forget it. It’s not flat, right? Right about that time, a truck pulled in the parking spot right in front of me, and a guy got out and stood by his truck looking back towards the store. I thought, what the heck?
I walked over and asked him if he thought he could get my valve cap off, because I couldn’t. He said sure. I’m no weakling, so I knew it was stuck on there pretty good. It turns out I was right, and he couldn’t get it, either. It took him approximately 30 seconds to realize that. He said, “Let me grab a pair of pliers and try it real quick.” Then he added, “Our car is broke down up there on 19. It’s not a good day for cars, I guess.”
It clicked that I had seen them on my way in, sitting on the side of the road–the truck he and two other guys were in and another car with a white shirt rolled up in the window–the universal symbol for “I’m broke please don’t tow my car!” Anyway, when we had passed, they were all standing around the car, along with a young woman.
Right as this clicked in my brain, that woman came out of Sheetz and over to the truck they were all in. She looked around, apparently for the man who was hidden behind my van, then one of the guys in the truck said something. Her response was, and I’m quoting from memory here, “Jesus Christ!” My 12-year-old son snapped his head around so quickly I thought he might break his neck. She looked away, then stood there and fumed until her husband/boyfriend/victim said, “I’m afraid I’m going to mess up your valve stem.” At this point he had maybe been helping us for four minutes.
I told him to forget it, I just wanted to see if maybe I was just weak that morning or something, it wasn’t flat, it was fine, babble babble babble just get away from us before something bad happens between me and your pleasant-faced partner. He offered more assistance, but I was already heading to the cockpit. He went over, and the lovely lady of the hour started on him. I slammed my door and gunned out of there. My son said, “She’s getting all over him, and now she’s crying!” Sure enough, I looked and she was having some sort of melodramatic meltdown in Sheetz parking lot in front of everyone, including the other guys in the car, while the Samaritan stood, shoulder’s slumped, and did nothing.
I don’t know what lesson my son learned today, but I know what lesson I learned. Don’t ask for help. Our society had finally degenerated to this. I’ve suspected it for a years, and now all of my fears have been confirmed. If you’re laying on the road, buddy, you’d be better off to just lay there with your mouth shut until a member of your own family can come rescue you.
How I wish I could have just kept my big mouth shut. Why did I have to ask for help? It was just a valve cap. I’ve always disliked asking for help, anyway, and this just reinforces my beliefs. If I’m stranded on the side of the road and someone starts to pull off, I’ll pull a gun on them. I have a cell phone–I’ll either fix it myself or call for someone who I know won’t have to get a divorce for helping me.
So if you see me sitting there, just drive on by. My cell phone service may be sketchy, but my aim is dead on.