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A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath; So Does Crying

, , , , , | Hopeless | June 26, 2019

I’m from Nova Scotia but moved to Prince Edward Island several years ago. All of my family is still in Nova Scotia. A little over a week before Christmas, my grandmother passes away. My work kindly gives me time off to go home for the funeral in Nova Scotia. Those from the area know that there are two ways off of PEI: a bridge to a neighboring province, or a ferry directly to Nova Scotia. Taking the ferry shortens the trip considerably, but it stops running a few days before Christmas on the 21st. I plan to leave on the 20th so I can get home in time to help my mother with both the funeral preparations and the preparations for a very sad Christmas.

Here, my string of bad luck begins: my departure is delayed by a blizzard, and I have to book my ferry crossing for the 21st, the last day that the ferry runs. I leave early as the roads are still snowy, and I am two-thirds of the way through an hour-long drive and deep in rural PEI when my car starts to swerve even on the clear patches of the road. I pull over and get out to look; I have a flat tire, and although I have the car’s rubber donut spare, I don’t actually know how to put it on.

But I do have roadside assistance. I call them, and then the place that services my car. They have one appointment open for three-thirty in the afternoon. I take it, even though it means that not only will I miss the ferry crossing I booked a spot on, but also the following one, which is the very last one of the season. I’ll have to take the bridge. After a cold wait for assistance, I’m making the trip back to the city where I live, with the suitcases and travel paraphernalia stuffed in the car because the bad tire is now consuming the bulk of my car’s small trunk.

I go to my service center early in hopes that they can squeeze me in early. As I park, I discover that the cooler stuffed in the front passenger seat has slid partially onto its side and leaked. Grabbing some paper towels and water, I scramble to repair damages — my car is new! — and in my hurry, I don’t realize that my door is now lightly touching the car next to mine. I find out almost immediately, though, as the owner runs up to me and starts yelling.

I’m stammering apologies and trying to sop up the last few drops of what I think is egg nog without having the door touch his car again; we’ve both looked and I didn’t even smudge the salt on the side of his car, let alone leave a scratch, but he’s not having any of my apologies and keeps yelling. I close the door and, feeling what little cool I have left evaporating, try to tell him it’s okay and it won’t happen again, and instead, I burst into tears because it’s just too much on top of everything else.

I don’t remember what exactly I said anymore; I remember sobbing that I am trying to go home for my grandmother’s funeral, and I’ve had a flat tire and missed my ferry, and now this. He gets really quiet after that, apologizing and saying he was just scared, because his car is a lease. He asks when the funeral is, and when my appointment time is. We go in together and he asks the lady at the service desk if they can swap our appointments, since he only needs his car by the end of the day and I have to travel as soon as possible. I thank him and sit down to wait.

They hurry, and I have a brand-new tire on my car half an hour later at no charge! And thanks to the appointment switch, I am able to catch the very last ferry crossing of the season, saving me hours of driving.

I never knew the man’s name, but thanks to him, I got home in time, and even early enough to help and support my mom through saying goodbye to hers. So, to the stranger who let go of his anger in favor of kindness, and the people at the service center who helped make things work out: thank you. You made a hard day and a hard Christmas a lot easier, for both me and my family.

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