I love people. No matter how much I read about man’s inhumanity to man in the daily newspapers, I believe more people care about other people than don’t care. Some people care enough to go out of their way to help. Last Friday, I witnessed this:
After we left the doctor’s office, my husband drove to the strip mall at Waller and Division. The parking lot was full, so my husband parked the car behind the cars parked in front of the stores. He left enough space for cars to back out and pass through. He walked over to Whale Fish to pick up our order of fried catfish tails, but he turned around abruptly, and he came back. “You’ll burn up in here,” my husband said. “Here’s the key, turn the AC on, because I don’t know how long I will be.”
I continued to read the newspaper until I got hot. Then I reached over and put the key in the ignition and turned it. The engine didn’t start, but the dashboard came alive with icons and words. I didn’t give it much thought, but the word “security” was blinking. When my husband returned with the carryout, he asked me why I hadn’t turned on the air. I told him the engine wouldn’t start. He turned the key, but the same thing happened-nothing. Except this time the icons and the words didn’t show on the dashboard. I suggested to my husband that maybe a jump would start the car. He got out the car to get the jumper cables from the trunk.
A stocky young man about 25 years old pulled up and parked his car parallel to our car. He went into the restaurant with a red neon sign in the window that spelled W-I-N-G-S. When the young man came out of the restaurant, heading towards his car, my husband and I said at the same time, “Can you give us a jump?”
“My car can’t do it,” the young man replied. I noticed the outside mirror on the driver’s side of his car was dangling from a cable by the door, and his front window was cracked. He had left the motor running, I assumed, because he feared it might not start if he turned it off.
Smiling broadly, he asked my husband if he had jumper cables. “Yes,” my husband said, as he stood at the rear of our car. “I’ll get somebody to help you,” the friendly young man said. He went back into the WINGS restaurant and came out with a man of Arabic descent. They stood and talked for a while in front of the restaurant, and then the friendly young man pointed in our direction. The Arab gentleman immediately got into a beige-colored car, backed out of his parking space, and pulled directly in front of our car. I thanked the friendly young man as he was getting into his car. “I’m glad I can help you,” he said. “You look like my grandmother; I couldn’t let you old people sit out here in the sun. It’s too hot.” I waved goodbye to the friendly young man.
By this time, the Arab gentleman and my husband had the jumper cables attached to both cars. My husband turned the key in the ignition but the car still wouldn’t start. He tried it two or three times but the motor didn’t crank. The Arab gentleman detached the jumper cables from his car and touched the two ends together causing them to spark. He saidthe battery in our car was OK and asked if he could leave. My husband thanked him and said he thought it was the starter causing the problem. The Arab gentleman got in his car and parked it in front of the WINGS restaurant and went back inside.
My husband left the hood to our car up and got back in the car. We sat in silence. I knew my husband was thinking what I was thinking. The car had stopped on us a couple months ago. We spent several hundred dollars having the car fixed. Now this-more car expense, towing costs, maybe we shouldn’t have bought this car. Just as my husband took out his cellphone to call road service, another young man came from somewhere.
He tucked his head under the hood and looked around inside. The young man was about the same age as the other friendly young man. He was dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt, and he had a cool, intelligent manner. Still talking on the cellphone, my husband got out of the car. The young man took his head out from under the hood and looked at my husband and he looked through the window at me. He moved close to my husband, but my husband was tied up on the cellphone talking to the road service receptionist. Then the young man came around to the open door on the driver’s side and looked at the dashboard. The young man had a puzzled expression as if what he was thinking didn’t make sense. He patiently waited until my husband was off the cellphone.
“You know,” the young man said, “sometimes it’s the alarm system.” My husband got back in the car and clicked the door lock on the remote, all the doors locked, and then he turned the key in the ignition and the engine started. We couldn’t thank the young man enough, and my husband gave him a cash reward. The young man said I looked like his grandmother.