I decide that I am going to drive to Chicago for the 4th of July for a family picnic. Tim had to stay behind due to church obligations. So I load up the two kiddos, ALL of the crap you need to pack when traveling with children, and head on my sweet way. I stopped halfway, got a Butterfinger Blizzard, fed Kayla and everything is going smoothly and swiftly. I am making good time and life is good.
I hear this awful sound, similar to a gunshot and immediately realize I have blown a tire while going 75 mph. Being the calm and cool one I am in stressful situations I kick it into turbo gear. I immediately access that the best course of action is to pull over to the left hand shoulder. Grasping the steering wheel tightly I veer over onto the shoulder safely. I get out and peek around to the passenger’s side and sure enough…the rear tire is in shreds. Awesome.
I call my insurance company and they dispatch a tow truck to help me. Meanwhile my children and I are on the side of the highway waiting for someone to help us. Oh…did I mention that it is raining? Awesome. I called my mom to tell her I would be late and then tried to call Tim at home. He didn’t answer so I let Isaac leave the message…”Hi dad, we broke a tire, we are on the side of the road, I love you, bye!”
I managed to not lose it and stay calm for the sake of my kids. I didn’t want Isaac upset so we just sat there waiting. A man pulled up to ask us if he could help us and then saw the tire was on the traffic side so he said he would call State Patrol for me. About 15 minutes later a police officer pulls up on the other side of me (he is heading east) and I tell him what happened. So he swings around and pulls up behind me. While the Police Officer is looking for my spare tire my knight in shining armor arrives: Mr. Hoosier Helper.
I did not know what a Hoosier Helper was before this moment but I will forever be grateful to this service my state provides. I won’t even complain about paying state taxes for at least a year. He gets out of his “Helpermobile” and changes my tire to my spare. He then proceeds to tell me how horrible the tire is and that I need to get off at the next exit and put air into it. I thanked him and headed onto the next exit…I am still holding it together at this point.
I pull off at the next exit and find the nearest gas station. There are two cop cars pulled in front of the station. Somehow that didn’t give me a “safe” feeling. My first thought was that the gas station was getting robbed and two gunmen would run out at any minute. It is then that I realize I am in Ghettoville, Indiana. I spot the air tank and proceed there telling myself “Hurry up, get air and get out.” It is $1.00 for air. I look in my purse and I don’t have any quarters. Awesome. There is NO WAY I am leaving my kids to run into the Ghettoville Gas nor am I getting my kids out of the car to go into Ghettoville Gas. So staying near my car I am asking everyone to make change for $1.00. Finally I see a homeless man with a cup of change. I walk up to him and he gave me change for my dollar. Yes this is really happening people….it gets better.
I go to my car and at this point tears are welling up. I see Mr. Hoosier Helper pull up behind me and I lose it. I start bawling. He runs to me and tries to calm me down telling me everything would be okay. He told me this is a very bad area of town but that I needed to pull over to put air in the tire so he didn’t want to tell me I was entering Ghettoville in fear that I would keep driving on the horrific spare. So that is when he followed me. He puts air in the tire and then asks me where I am heading. I tell him I am still an hour and a half from my destination and he told me he didn’t feel good about me driving that far on my poor spare.
He says he knows of a shop a couple of miles downs the road. So I follow him and we pull up to the scariest mechanic shop in America but one that happened to be opened on the 4th of July. There are about 5 burly men all tatted up and smoking outside. My eyes are bugging out of my head. Mr. Hoosier Helper comes up to my window and I immediately say “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LEAVE ME RIGHT?” He reassures me he will stay until he gets another dispatch call. Wiping away the tears I thank him. Meanwhile a rather “large man who would scare me to death if I saw him in a dark alley” comes up and asks what I need. Mr. Hoosier Helper explains I need I new tire. So he takes my old one and disappears in the back.
Mr. Hoosier Helper is flirting with me big time by now. But I could care less, I was petrified of him leaving me there with my two kids in tow, so I am totally humoring him.
I refuse to get out of the car.
Out of nowhere two dudes start dropping f-bombs and pushing each other right in front of my van…yes this is really happening people….it gets better. I am freaking out thinking there is going to be bloodshed. Two of the other burly men are breaking up the fight. Meanwhile I turn up Ice Age on the DVD player so Isaac can’t hear what is going on. The two continue calling each other obsenities and their mothers obsensities. The one guy already has a broken hand and tells him he is going to break his other hand on the guy’s face.
At this point I am sure I am being Punk’d. I keep looking for Ashton Kutcher and the cameras.
The fight breaks up and the scary dude comes back carrying a weak looking tire. He said that was the best he could do. So he says it will be $20. At this point it could have been $2000 and I would have paid it. I told you before I refused to get out of the car so the man ends up jacking up the back with all of us in the van and puts the new tire on. Did I mention Kayla is hungry and I had to breastfeed her while the back end of the van is in the air? Yah, it was awesome.
Mr. Hoosier Helper went inside the shop to pay the dude for me. The only time I got out of the car was to take pictures for you…yes I risked my life for you dear blogger buddies..
So two hours later I arrive at the picnic frazzled and with frizzy rain soaked hair but we made it.