I am reminded tonight of a Tracy Lawrence song I hear on the radio now and again. The song is called Find Out Who Your Friends Are. It talks about how you when you are really in a moment of need, your true friends will drop everything to come and help you, no matter how big the task. There’s a lot of truth in that song. What it doesn’t say is that sometimes those friends are actually family. In reality, that’s what family is for, isn’t it?
The reason this song came to mind is that my cousin Michelle had one of those moments today. While driving down the interstate, she came to an area of congested traffic. Due to one lane closed on the bridge, traffic leading up to the merge was stop and go for a couple of miles. As she saw the back up and realized she would have to stop, she applied the brakes, only to find that they didn’t work. She pushed on the pedal again and again, but the car didn’t stop, it didn’t even slow down. With stopped traffic just a short distance ahead, my aunt took the wheel from the passenger seat and turned it enough to run the van into the cement wall dividing their lane from traffic going the other direction in the next lanes of interstate.
I’m not sure exactly how things played out next, except that one incredibly rude person stopped to yell at them as they were sitting crashed on the side of the road, and one kinder, more reasonable person stopped to make sure they were OK. Whoever the guy in the yellow mustang was, my aunt and cousin are grateful for your kindness in checking in on them. To the lady in the white car, I only hope that if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll find someone kinder than yourself to help you out.
At some point, Louann (my aunt) called my cell phone. Since they were 40 miles from home, they needed someone to come pick them up, and I live close by. Luckily, I had set my phone on vibrate earlier today, since the ringer hasn’t been working for a week or so. (I’ll probably end up having to do a master reset to wipe it out to get ringers working, but first I’ve got to back up my contacts etc…) I was sitting at home, and hurried to pick them up as soon as I got the call. When I arrived, there were 2 police cars behind their van, and a tow truck just arriving on the scene. It took a little bit to get the van loaded up on to the tow truck, since it was turned into the side wall. I ended up having to crawl in the passenger side and steer away from the wall as the tow truck driver pulled the van closer and onto the flatbed tow truck with the winch. (He asked Michelle to, but she was too shaken up to get back into the van just then. She’s since said repeatedly that she isn’t going to drive anymore.)
Fortunately, I know a good mechanic, and we were able to have her van towed to his shop. ($70 to tow it across town, isn’t that a little steep?) In the accident, the front drivers side tire was flattened, so the mechanic took the wheel off for us and we drove over to Sam’s Club to buy a new tire. Once the new tire was mounted, we dropped it off back at the shop with her van, and I gave them a ride back home.
In the end, nobody was hurt, and hopefully a flat tire and the brake repairs will be the worst of it. Michelle and Louann have calmed down, and in a couple of days they’ll have the van back good as new. I’m incredibly glad that they were able to reach me, and that I could help them out in a very stressful situation. I know Michelle has been there for me plenty of times in the past, and would be there for me again if I needed her. Tracy’s right, you do find out who your friends are in times like this, but sometimes the best friends are family. When you need it the most, they’ll be there for you. After all, That’s What Family is For.