Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thank God for AAA

Now, I know I'm getting REALLY old...I mean, old as DIRT kinda old!
I'm so old that I actually remember a time when service stations were just that, Service Stations.
I remember a rubber hose that ran along the ground & as you drove over it it would ding,
alerting the Service Station attendant that he had a customer.
He'd come running out, smile on his face in his clean, white uniform, hat cocked
to one side & yell out "What can I get ya?", & as we all sat comfortably in the car
my Daddy would yell back, "Fill her up with Ethel please."

I never knew who Ethel was until I got much older, but I figured she was a nice lady cuz our
car always ran down the road perfectly after we got filled with her.  ;)
These gentle men not only filled your car up with gas, but they also:
washed your windshields spotless,
checked your oil,
checked the radiator,
checked the air pressure in your tires
& if any of these were amiss, they fixed the problem immediately, with a smile.
I MISS those days, I really do. Life was just SWEETER.

Fast Forward fifty years...
Yesterday, I had a tire blow out. Not just a little, I came out of the store & my tire was flat
or a small, slow leak of air as I was driving down the road & had to pull over.
I had a going, 65mph, on a 2 lane HWY, in the middle of NOWHERE
'Shut the Front Door', I'm surprised I didn't die.
It was 6:30pm, I didn't know what city I was in cuz I was in the middle of the desert,
the shoulder WAS the desert, I was an hour from home, an hour from my friends house,
cars & semi's were flying past me at the speed of sound, I was freaked out, a little stupefied
& the one thing I AM GRATEFUL for in these modern times, is my cell phone.
So, what do I do first...
Call my Hubby & what does he tell me to do, call AAA & call him right back.
I called the emergency hot line & talk to Angie.
I gave her my card number & she then asks, "Where are you?"
I panicky answer like the brilliant woman that I am, "I don't know!"
She asks "What city are you in?" I answer, "I don't know, I'm in the middle of a desert."
Brilliant, right?
Long story short, through my vague ramblings & inaccurate information, she decides my
location & sends a AAA tow truck out to help me. It will take 54 minutes.
Call Hubby back, we decide it's silly for him to drive that far, I will wait.
He tells me there are crazy drivers out there, not to wait in the car...
I say I'm scared of someone seeing me & kidnapping me {oldnapping me}
or maybe even worse, getting bite by a snake.
He says, just take my water & take a little walk off the road & make it a pleasant wait.
I say ok...I stay in the car & put my seat belt on, Angie calls again to check on me.
An hour later as the sun is getting lower in the sky, I hear the sound of a truck
pulling up behind me...yipppeeee, I'm saved!!!
I hop out of the car clapping my hands & all women do this
or am I just a moron? The sun is now slightly behind the driver as he jumps out of the
truck, clipboard in hand, blue one piece uniform on & a smile on his face.
"Are you Susie?", "Yes, yes, that's me...I've been waiting!"
"Can I see your card Mam?" "Oh yes, here it is, I've got it!"
"Thank you Mam, no worries. I'll take care of everything. These drivers out here
are crazy! If I could have you step back & away from the car for your own safety,
I would really appreciate it."
"Certainly, certainly, why didn't I think of that!"  ;)
He now went to work & with the sun setting behind him, there was a soft glow of light
surrounding him. His skin glistened & his hair blew softly in the desert breeze,
at least that's the way I remember it.
He mentions that he was leaving to go home when he got the call, but was concerned
about a women being stranded out here alone...I think he's my savior.
As he finishes up, I thank him profusely & run over to my purse to get him a tip.
I only have $3 & I fold it up & put it in his hand. He says no, he can't except it. I say
he must. He says he can't take my last few dollars & I say he has to take it. I say he saved
me & it's the least I can do & wish it were more.
He shakes my hand & says, with a smile on his face,
"It's just my job."
I get in my car & slowly merge back out into the traffic, finally heading for home.
I think, I hope he stops at a bar before he goes home & has a beer on me.



Alice said...

Oh goodness, a real life hero! And I do remember the days of service stations with attendants who took care of everything with a smile. They always carried a red rag that seemed to make everything sparkle. Oh those were the days....

Cindy Craine said...

Good Lord sweetpea! Send a copy of your post to your AAA person. I think people that do a job like that never really understand how important they are to damsels in distress! My little brother has been a mechanic for over 20 years and I tell him all the time what a difference he makes just fixing their car. Can you remember when our parents use to share a car, eek, I can't imagine!! Glad my Cali girl is ok! xoxox-cindy

Pretty Things said...

LOL at Ethel. My first car -- sigh. I remember having to remember if it took Regular or Unleaded!

CoopDeVilla said...

I am so glad everything turned out okay. My biggest fear is to be stranded out in the middle of nowhere... lots of that here in Idaho. I remember Ethel and that little ding-ding noise when you arrived. How about gas station candy and soda pop? Those were the days.

Meri said...

Amen! Glad you're safe and sound. And btw, there's a gas station not far from here that still fills the tank for you. . . and in Oregon, it's the law. No self-service.

Charlene said...

Oh what a terrible feeling that is! Soooooooooooo glad you are safe! You crack me up call Hubby... made me think of your story of the stick up in Target! Only you Susie Pearl.

I got to see Diane on Monday & again today. And next week we will spend the whole week together. It is soooo much fun. Wish you were here playing with us.

Stay safe. HUGS!

trash talk said...

Put a ruffled shirt on him and call him Fabio! shoulda kissed him flat dab square on the mouth.
And yes...I do remember full service stations...fondly and misty-eyed.

Jenelle said...

I love the vintage pics!! Miss those full service stations!!

Kasia said...

What a sweet story! Isnt it great when we meet people like that? They make the the earth a bit more liveable. :) Thanks for sharing!


Tins and Treasures said...

Good afternoon, Susie,
Yes, I remember full service stations and the little 'ping' when you drove over the hose. We must be about the same age, right?

I am so glad to hear that you are OK and that AAA could come to your rescue. Stay safe ~Natalie

Debbie said...

So glad things worked out for you and your flat tire. I just wanted to drop by and say "Hello, my little darling". I could send all day just telling you how great you are and thanking you for all your hard work and friendship. But what is most important to me is that you make me smile and laugh out loud!! Be well drop by anytime or give me a call.
Thanks again for the AMAZING Blog design!!!
xoxo said...

Welcome to the party.I love you photos. I'd love to see your studio.
come visit and enter my drawing


Suz said...

Oh, Susie,
We are indeed from the same generation. I loved AAA. Is it still around? We have had so many strange plans that I long for my AAA card!
What a great post. The pictures were fantastic!!!

Sue said...

Susie- Why did those nice service station guys have to all go away?! I had a guy- Dave- who knew me by name and was always so friendly. And this was even in the late 70's! I loved not having to pump my own gas in frigid cold weather. He always checked my tires and oil level. When the station went self-serve, I was bummed!
I did get to know one AAA guy real well a few years back. I must have called at least 4 times because my battery kept dying. After I used up all my calls, he suggested that I just buy a new battery from him! Gee, why didn't I think of that? LOL
Glad your AAA guy was so caring!
~ Sue