August 10, 2011

Adventures In a Taco Bell Drive Thru

It was decided against my better judgment (as per usual) to treat the kids to Taco Bell instead of the superior Del Taco feast. There’s just no accounting for taste . . .

As I get custody of the wife’s H3 on the weekends, I wheeled the mighty rig into the drive thru line, spotted an opening and darted ahead. Unfortunately the incessant chatter emanating from the interior of the vehicle distracted my otherwise stellar focus, resulting in me bringing the H3 to a stop some two car lengths past where one typically places the order.

I mumbled a four letter word . . . “oops” . . .

My first instinct was to back up so I quickly scanned my rearview mirror for obstacles. Lo and behold the driver behind me had noticed my dilemma (presumably aided by the peace and tranquility emanating from the interior of his own vehicle) and had stopped one full car length ahead of the speakers.

I backed up, placed the order then pulled ahead to the pick-up window. Feeling grateful for the courtesy just afforded me I decided to express my thanks in an unusual way.

I paid for my order than told the Taco Bell servant I wanted to pay for the car behind me. She looked surprised and made me repeat my request. She asked me if I was sure and I explained to her what had just happened. She told me the amount. I paid her. She looked pleased. She commented how fun this was and that she would enjoy passing on the good news to her next customer.

I felt good. My wife felt good. My kids felt good. The servant felt good. And the family in the back was about to feel real good. That was quite a return for a few measly bucks.

Our Taco Bell lunch tasted a little better than normal that day . . .

Yay me . . .

August 01, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I was driving out to work last week when I noticed a woman attempting to push her car off the road near the entrance to the off-ramp.

“She’s pretty strong for a woman,” I thought to myself.  “I wonder if anyone is going to stop and help her.”

I drove by, thoughtfully making sure that I didn’t hit her or her open car door.  But I hadn’t gone very far when that often inconvenient entity I call a conscience began to pester me.

“What if that were your wife?” my conscience asked.  “Wouldn’t you want someone to stop and help her?”

“I’m busy,” I replied with all the reasonableness I could muster.  “Find someone else!”

My conscience tends to not give up so easily and I soon found myself circling back around to see what could be done.  As I got closer I witnessed several truck drivers zoom by without even so much as a drive-by gawking.  Heartless bastards . . . Heartless lucky bastards . . .

Sure enough she was out of gas.  Sure enough she had no gas can.  Sure enough she claimed she had no money.

I took her to the nearest gas station, purchased a gas can and put 2 gallons of gas in it.  She mentioned she was “really thirsty” (actually she looked really thirsty, but in more of a vampire-ish sort of way).

“I’m glad it’s daylight,” I thought as I purchased her a nice, tall, cool, condensation-laced bottle of water.  “I think I left my stake and mallet at home.”

I drove her back to her car and parked directly behind the vehicle, careful to turn on my hazard lights.  I had read stories of people being killed on the highway in similar situations and I didn’t want to end up just another statistic.  (Although when you think about our journey through life, I suppose it is impossible NOT to become some sort of statistic.  I just didn’t want to become THAT kind of statistic . . . You know, one of those . . .)

My gas can at home is several years old and very simple in design; one takes off the cap, inserts the nozzle and pours the contents into whatever receptacle is desired.  Not this gas can.  It was what my Southern-born daddy would call “newfangled.”

After spending about 5 minutes trying to figure out how to tear off the rubber gasket at the end of the nozzle that was impeding the flow of gas, I realized that it was there for a reason.  After further experimentation I discovered that the secret was to grip the lever on the nozzle tightly and pull down, much like chambering a shell in a shotgun Dick Chaney style.

Then I carefully positioned myself by the gas tank which was conveniently located on the driver’s side nearest the traffic (of course it was) and cocked the lever.  Keeping one eye on the traffic, one eye on the vampire and one eye on the task at hand I began to empty the gas into her tank.

Two long minutes and five speeding big rigs later I had dispensed about ¾ of the container.  I asked her to open her trunk, told her there was a little gas left for later and that she could have the can.

That was when she reminded me again that she had no money and still had a long ways to go.  She looked as though she were about to offer something else in trade, but I hadn’t brought my hazmat suit so I quickly offered her a tank of gas to send her on her way.  She graciously accepted and I followed her back to the gas station.

It was then that my conscience decided I still had one more little task left to do.

“Aren’t you going to witness to her?” my conscience sneered with that uppity tone of voice he likes to use when he thinks he’s better than me.

“My actions speak louder than words,” I proudly proclaimed.  Luckily for me my conscience was in an unusually good mood that day because he accepted a compromise.

“Jesus loves you Georgette,” I said with a smile as I waved goodbye.  I called her Georgette because that was her name.

She looked startled, mumbled a thank you and drove away.

I walked back to my car satisfied that I had exhibited enough kindness for one day.  It was then I noticed that in my excitement I had forgotten to turn off my hazard lights.  I pushed down on the button to turn them off but the button wouldn’t stay down.  Somehow I had managed to break the latch.

I fumbled through owner’s manual trying to find the fuse box location and diagram, which of course didn’t match the reality of what was actually there.  A half hour later and with the help of one of my mechanics at work I managed to identify and pull the fuse connected to the flasher.  Unfortunately this also disabled my signal lights.

Finally I found a toothpick, rammed it into the notch with the button pressed down and that is where it rests today because I don’t have the money to get it fixed.

No good deed goes unpunished . . .