Archive for October, 2011

Helping those stranded on the roadside (err, “parking lot”)

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Outside the Sprint store tonight, I saw a minivan blocking traffic.  So I walked over, and the kid asked if I owned the parked car he was also blocking (why he didn’t roll into a spot instead of just rolling into everyone’s way, I’ll never know).  I said “no, I’m just here to see if you need any help.”  His van had died, so I started pushing uphill.  He got out to help, because I guess he didn’t think that steering and brakes were important to the rolling vehicle.  I had it pushed back up the hill by the time he got to the back of the van – which, again, I’m not quite following.  I needed to push it backwards first, so it’s unclear what he was going to do out back.  Maybe he thought that I was making it look too easy, and wanted to make it more of a workout for me.  Anyway, I was holding the van from rolling back down the hill, and asked him to get back in, push down the brake, and turn the wheel so he could steer it into the parking spot while I used a little momentum to push it uphill again (he had come to a stop in sort of a valley).  For some reason, his reaction to my telling him three times to “push on the brake and then turn the wheel” was to turn the key to start it.  This was yet another entry in the list of incomprehensible things he did – but strangely, the van started right up.  So, he’d been sitting there confusedly blocking traffic (well, not quick blocking – people could drive around, albeit inconveniently) for at least 10 minutes.  He was occasionally turning his reverse lights on and randomly mashing the brake, but it seemingly hadn’t occurred to him to attempt to turn the key.

Oh well.  He got the car running, I did my good deed, and the people who were annoyed at him would have probably been annoyed at something else later anyway.  So I left and went home.  I don’t know if he got his coffee or if the van started afterwards.  I do know that the Mexican cleaning lady I helped (her brakes went out on her way to work and she stopped the van by ramming into a pile of snow right in front of me) last winter – the one who spoke about four words of English – was better at following directions and explaining her problem…