Don’t Panic; Help Is On The Way

, , , , | | Hopeless | June 24, 2019

I have an anxiety disorder, and while it’s normally manageable, I do get the occasional panic attack. Normally, I can work through them and function like normal while my brain and body are throwing a fit. Today, however, I had a panic attack out of the blue while driving on the most infamously dangerous highway in my area.

My vision was starting to white out, my hands were shaking too much to steer, and my legs were shaking too much to work the pedals, so I pulled over onto the shoulder and put my hazards on while I tried to calm down. In the time I took to try to calm down, I was nearly hit by another car four times, which only made the situation worse.

I finally called my insurance to request a tow truck to get me safely off the road. They said they could get a truck to me in about an hour — an hour of being stuck on the side of the highway, with my life in immediate danger.

Not five minutes later, a tow truck pulled onto the shoulder. The driver was from an unaffiliated company, but he could get me home immediately. Scared for my life, I accepted his services, and he helped me out of my car — I was shaking too badly to walk normally — and into his truck. He then hooked up my car and took me home.

On the way home, he told me he was waiving all the fees except the car hookup fee, which he had to charge. Mileage fees? Waived. When we got to my home, he even gave me some paperwork to submit to my insurance company to try to recoup my losses from the fee he charged me. He asked me repeatedly if I needed to go to the hospital — I didn’t, panic attacks can be handled at home — and even talked to my best friend on the phone to confirm. Still, he waited outside my building until I got inside before driving off.

He got me home safely, he probably saved my life, and he didn’t have to do any of that. Sometimes I wonder about humanity, but with all the good he did for me, he restored my hope!

The Road Of Human Kindness

, , , , | | Hopeless | June 18, 2019

My family and I are traveling by car to my youngest sister’s college graduation ceremony. We are in two cars driving caravan style, so we will arrive at the same time. We are about halfway into the hour-and-a-half drive when my mom is merging onto the highway and her car just… stops working. Completely. All the icons on the dashboard flash and we start slowing down spontaneously.

We pull over and try to figure out what’s going on. We can’t find anything wrong with the car except that it won’t start. So, we all pile into my oldest sister’s car. There are seven of us in a five-seater car, and someone is sitting the trunk, but we don’t care; we are getting to this graduation ceremony! My sister starts her car and… the engine won’t turn over. What are the odds that both cars would have problems at the same time?!

We call our insurance and ask for roadside assistance for my sister’s car, hoping we can still make it to the ceremony on time. The roadside assistance says it will be at least an hour before they can get to us, which would be after the graduation is supposed to start. We call a friend from the area and ask if she can come and give my sister’s car a jump — we suspect the battery is dead — so we can maybe get to the ceremony on time. Our friend says she will come as soon as she can.

Then, we call for a tow truck for my mom’s car to take it to the mechanic. Again, it will be an hour before we can get any help. My dad begs the customer service agent to do what she can to get someone here faster so we can still get to the graduation ceremony.

Ten minutes later, a cop pulls over and talks to us, making sure everything is all right. He offers to look at my mom’s car to see if there is anything he can do. The cop doesn’t have the right tools to help us, and after making sure we have help coming, leaves.

Not five minutes later, the tow truck and our friend arrive at the same time! The tow truck driver offers to jump my sister’s car even though he was only supposed to tow my mom’s car. A few of us get into our friend’s car and we finally get on the road to the graduation ceremony! We arrive only a few minutes before it starts; we made it just in time.

If it weren’t for such kind people, like the cop, the customer service agent with roadside assistance, the tow truck driver, and our friend, I would never have gotten to see my sister graduate college, and I am so grateful for the help we received.

Driving Below The Speed Limit Is For Babies

, , , , , , , , | | Right | June 18, 2019

I work for a luxury car company. It’s my job to be on the sales floor and take people on test drives, etc.

One day, a man comes into the dealership whose English isn’t the best. He has booked a test drive via the online feature.

When we walk towards the car he will be test driving, he stops me with a wave of his hands and rushes off to get something out of his car. I think, at first, that he’s getting his glasses or something, but he comes back with a tiny baby in a car seat. Not unusual, but worth mentioning.

We start driving down the dual carriageway, and I mention that if he wants to test the sixth gear, he can, as the speed limit is 70.

Instead, the man’s speed starts to edge towards 100 mph, and every time I try and ask him to slow down, it becomes clear that he can’t understand what I am saying.

Finally, through wild hand movements, we manage to get back onto the smaller roads to drive back to the dealership. The man starts driving on the wrong side of the road.

I have to grab the steering wheel to move us out of the oncoming path of a lorry, whilst I am being berated in German by the man.

I pull the handbrake — when it’s safe to do so — and drive us back to the dealership.

When we get back, the driver gets into his car and drives off without a word…

…leaving me with his infant daughter in the test car.

The phone number provided doesn’t work and in the end, we have to phone the police because we don’t know what to do. They come with social services and take the baby into their care.

The police eventually reunite the daughter with her mother. It turns out that the man was her father, who has visitation every other weekend.

The man submits such a poor feedback form about the test drive that I could lose my job and I am subjected to an internal review. Luckily, the camera and audio footage from the car show what actually happened.

The speeding ticket we receive from the test drive, with his photo driving, also helps me keep my job.

We’ll see if the ticket gets paid or not…

Leaving Room For The Invisible Boatmobile

, , , , , , | | Friendly | June 18, 2019

Some years ago, I bought a second car, so I wanted the driveway widened to double its width. I called up the city and they did a “curb-drop,” and then I had the driveway widened. Until the concrete set, they left barriers around the work. Afterward, they picked up their gear but left one sawhorse barrier; you know, the one with the yellow- and black-striped crossbar.

Across the street from my house is a church and a contractor was doing some work on the roof. He parked his vehicle across the new section of my driveway. Bear in mind that there were no other vehicles parked on the street and he could have parked anywhere else. I knew what game he was playing, so I was not going to play into it by calling the police.

After he left, I went out and got the barrier the city had so fortuitously left laying on my front lawn. I set it up to block him from parking across my driveway the next day. As luck would have it, my wife was standing at the window watching when he arrived the next day. She said he pulled up to the barrier and stopped, and his eyes bugged out as his face went red. He slammed his truck into reverse and actually chirped his tires as he pulled away and parked halfway down the street! Again, there were no other vehicles parked on the street! He could have just parked across the street in front of the church where he was working. She then said he stomped up and down the street dragging boxes of tools to where he was working, his face twisted with rage.

He never tried to park in front of our driveway again. One of the dynamics of this kind of exchange is that the less effort you expend to defeat someone, the greater the victory.

Hail Satan And Pass The Gravy

, , , , , | | Related | June 17, 2019

(My eight-year-old brother comes home from a birthday party.)

Mom: “Was there food at the party?”  

Brother: “Yes, Mommy, but I didn’t eat it because it was blessed by another god and I believe in Jesus.”

Mom: “Oh. Okay, then.”

Brother: “Yes, the lady kept saying it was blessed in Hell.”

Mom: “Did she maybe say, ‘Blessed Halal’?”

Brother: “Maybe. Why?”

Mother: “There’s a big difference. It would have been fine if you had eaten it.”

(My brother spent a birthday party thinking his friend was a satanic worshiper and they were trying to poison him with food from Hell. On the bright side, he was polite and just told the lady that he had already eaten. Gotta love eight-year-olds.)

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