Taconic Pkwy....and a .45 automatic
I think this fits under this topic...even though the breakdown wasn't mine.
In the early 70's, a friend and I were returning from a coffee house in the Hudson Valley (I can't remember the town...) I was headed back to Rhinebeck and would drop my buddy off in Hyde Park on the way home.
Along the Taconic Parkway, headed north, we encountered a broken down car. Being your normal small-town kids, we stopped to see if we could help the drivers. It was a couple of guys who were obviously from "the city" (NYC) and they were flummoxed. Their car wouldn't start and they didn't know why...though one of them thought (for no apparent reason) that it was the battery.
It was dealing with the battery that changed this from a simple encounter to something different.
My buddy didn't see this, but as I was talking with one of the guys, with the hood up, he pulled out a .45 automatic and began hammering the battery terminals with the butt on the gun. Having grown up around guns, this seemed like a very bad idea.
I urged him to stop, which he did, and then said we'd better go "down the road" to a place I knew that was open and could help.
We jumped back in my car. My friend Jim, still unaware that we were dealing with gun-toting nutballs, was surprised (as was everyone, I hoped) that I took off down the TSP like a bat out of hell! (edited for content)
We got to the next exit, where a small roadhouse sort of place still had its sign lit.
As soon as the two (individuals) were out of the car, I peeled out and never looked back....
Suffice to say, I have never stopped to be a good samaritan since then...
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-04-2005 at 08:20 AM.
Reason: Violation of "play nice" guidelines
Life is SUPPOSED to be an adventure
Being a good samaritan is the the roadtripper way of life and I find it sort of sad that one dicey experience has prevented you from experiencing that first hand. I find that I stop at least once a week when I see folks who appear to be having some sort of on-the-road difficulty. I have met some truly interesting characters that way... And discovered locations known only to locals.
But thanks for the story!
Wow, great story. Nice website too, btw.
Unlike our fearless Editor, I usually don't stop and help. There's not a lot of help I can give. I'm useless. Believe me, I've gotten my use out of my AAA membership over the years! And I do worry about my personal safety. I do, however, call 911 and report a car that's sitting on the side of the road so a Stater or Sheriff can check on them. I especially do this if it's at night. That might be the chicken way to do it but at least if someone is in need of help and doesn't have a cellphone or anything, I know that they will get the help they need.
However, when my husband is with me, we have stopped a few times. He, at least, has some ability to help them out with car trouble.
Stopping and helping....
Funny thing is that, unless it's an obvious thing like a flat tire, there is not much anyone can do anymore with a broken down car! They are so full of electronics that you're likely to do more harm that good....
Gone are the days of saying "you flooded it," and holding down the butterfly in the carb....
It is the thought that counts
True, but given the number of times I have been broken down and otherwise in need of roadside assistance (I have been rescued a silly number of times so far) I can vouch for just how great it is to have someone stop and say "do you need help". Sometimes, just the act of stopping causes engines to magically fix themselves. I like your site too.
Originally Posted by Roadside Ron
You're probably right. It is nice to have someone to share the pain with!
And I'm probably old enough now that all those years of breaking down are
a little foggy now.. However, I used to drive British sports cars in the 70s,
which meant I travelled with a tool kit under my seat all the time!
I also remember a time when I ran out of gas, 'cause the people who fixed one
thing, mucked up another; they reversed the leads on the fuel tank sensor,
so I went without a fuel gage for quite a while. This worked okay (I kept an eye on the odometer and did the math) until the winter rolled around...and I forgot to figure in the amount of time I left the car to warm up in the morning... Needless to say, I ran out of gas on the lonliest stretch of road I could find.
That is the sole benefit I can see for owning a cell phone...
ps: Thanks for the kind comments on my site. Your's is teffific, as well! Nice to know this is this much interest in the American road...
the "trickster" ;)
In the course of a day's travels I may stop many times or few depending on what I encounter. In nearly 40 years of helping others I've only had 1 seriously bad encounter,and luckily, by being "prepared" even that one came out allright -- [ bad guys in custody ]
Each person I assist I give a card to that says --
"Assisting you is my pleasure. I ask for no payment other than for you to pass on the favor by helping someone in distress that you may encounter."
The card is to be passed on with the "assistance"
Last month I had 3 separate grown men CRY when I helped them :O
One said he had helped others all his life but NOone had ever helped HIM when he needed it! -- I said "looks like you're getting a little payback today" ;) :) -- [ He was in a dangerous prediciment when I arrived ]
As to the "trickster" title to this thread -- I have had the opportunity on several occasions to "take care of business" for some badly stranded folks as a surprise.
One incident, I came upon a vehicle out in the boonies of our local mountains that had a flat tire and the shredded spare was leaning up beside the car as well, and no one was around. The vehicle was in poor shape and it was obvious to me that whoever owned it was in difficulity -- SO -- I took the shredded spare and the flat tire and returned to my shop to install 2 decent tires on them from a stock of those that I keep for just this purpose. ;) :) took them back out to the car on the lonely highway and installed and quickly left.
SOMEONE got a surprise I'm sure.
Another story and a child's "artwork" thank you.
DO what you can -- protect yourself -- BUT -- DO what you CAN!
Last edited by The San Diego Highwayman; 07-09-2005 at 09:02 PM.
Hello Highwayman, nice to hear from you again! Bob
AKA "Wily Coyote"
Great story -- every time I hear the word "trickster" I think of the Coyote in many native American stories -- from now on I will think of two new tires awaiting the return of the owners of that car. Nice image. Thanks for sharing.
Originally Posted by The San Diego Highwayman
I'm late as usual
I hate to admit it, even I don't stop as much as I used to. I didn't have a gun-toating city guy cause it, it was actually one of my own AAA contractors.
I stopped to help a guy who obviously had a flat (this was after I drove by and deemed it was safe, took the Center Parkway exit off the Loop 202, and went around to the next on ramp and came back). My jack didn't work for the size of his van, and his was broken. I let him use my cell to call AAA on his card, and we got everything going just fine. I come into work the next day and look up the call in our archives... and I find a unwelcome surprise. The driver called in and accused me of cussing him out. All I ever have is good things to say about those guys... they run their tails off in 118 degree heat, they deserve some respect. So, needless to say, I don't stop as much as I used to, and when I do it comes after I did a "fly-by".
I have stopped on the 202 prior and not only helped another one of our contractors with getting water into his radiator after the hose came loose, but changed a nice elderly ladies tire at 11 pm, 4 inches from speeding traffic (I didn't need to shave for weeks, heh heh heh.). She was very appreciative, and got on her way. I, on the other hand, felt the effects of that incident for 2 months! That grooved concrete kills one's knees, and someone torked those lugnuts good!