Radiator Is Broken But Humanity Isn’t

, , , | Hopeless | June 21, 2016

(I set out for a solo trip to a city on the coast to try and take my mind off of some bad final exams. I drive an old truck, more than a decade old, and think it will be able to handle the 100-mile trip. I am wrong. As I almost get to the coast, the radiator indicator hits red, and fluid starts spraying out. I try to make it back home, thinking a quick fix, water in the radiator, will hold me over. It doesn’t. Close to midnight, I pull off the highway to a gas station, pop the hood, and collapse into the fetal position and start freaking out.)

Random Guy: “You need some help?”

(I am a transgender man, and this is a podunk not-town off the highway. I am not expecting good things.)

Me: “No, no, I’m go— Actually, I’m f***ed, and my truck’s f***ed, too. I called my parents to come get me, so I’m fine.”

Random Guy: “You mind if I take a look?”

(He looks over the engine, and I’m expecting him to agree that it’s a lost cause, but that’s not the case. Without talking to me, he turns to his younger brother, hands him money, and tells him to run inside and get a flashlight.)

Random Guy: “I know a thing or two about engines, so I’ll have a look at this for you, if it’s all right?”

Me: “If you want to; maybe I’ll have something to tell my parents, for when they take it to a shop.”

(He and his brother look it over, pronounce the radiator a lost cause (a metal radiator with a fissure the side of a three-year-old down the back of it) and I try to thank them and send them on their way.)

Random Guy: “No way. You’re out here alone, next to a truck stop, no-one around for miles. I can’t let you stay out here alone for however long it’s gonna take your folks to get out here. We’ll stick around ’til then.”

Me: “It’s gonna be an hour at the least.”

Random Guy: “If it keeps you safe, it’s fine with us. Right guys?”

(He and his entire family stayed in their car next to mine until my parents got there over an hour-and-a-half later. No-one tried anything, but for all I know, it’s only because some people I’d never met before, and will probably never meet again, went out of their way to camp at a near ghostly empty gas station to keep a stressed 20-year-old safe from rowdy truckers or worse.)

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