by Denise Luhman
Pompano Beach, Florida, USA
I’ll never forget the day in 1991 when on my way from Florida to Texas, I foolishly decided against taking my scheduled overnight stop in Baton Rouge. By around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m., I had hit Shreveport, but the freeway was still being built, and I missed my entrance. I ended up out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, in the dark, in the freezing rain, in January. Everything I owned was in my car and the trailer I was pulling, including my two cats.
I finally saw what I thought was a U-shaped driveway, and began to turn around. Halfway through, I realized that what I had actually seen was two straight driveways with a dirt path in the middle. I promptly got stuck. A couple driving by stopped, and they went to town and called a tow truck for me. I had to spend my hotel money getting towed 10 feet out of the mud. The couple then led me to the freeway and got me headed in the right direction. Heroes #1 and #2.
Less than an hour later, I was about 13 miles into Texas when my car died. No lights, no flashers, nothing. (I found out later the alternator had died.) By that time it was almost 1:00 a.m. I was freezing in my Florida clothes, and had no choice but to start walking. Of course I had to leave my cats in the car. I was terrified to leave the cats and all my stuff, but I had no choice. I had only walked about 50 yards when a truck pulled up and offered me a ride. I knew there was no way he could have stopped on such short notice, and asked him how he knew I was there. Seems a tow-truck driver going the other way had seen me and had called on the CB for someone to pick me up. Heroes #3 and #4.
The trucker took me to the next town and dropped me off at the only place that was still open (a gas station). There were several cops there playing cards. Three of them took me back to my car and towed it back to the gas station with a tow line so I wouldn’t have to pay another tow truck. #5, #6, and #7.
The car didn’t get fixed till morning, but the guy that worked in the gas station let me sleep on a bench in the “cafe” since I had spent my hotel money on the tow truck. Hero #8. The mechanic who fixed the car took my battery across town to get it charged in a hurry so I could get back on the road. #9. Last, but certainly not least, my dad (hero #10) lent me money to get the car fixed when I called him (collect) crying.
In this day and age, it’s unusual to find even one hero, let alone 10 in one night. But they were there when I needed them.