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A Greasy Angel

June 25, 2010

We came out of the restaurant, and got in the car. Don turned the key. Nothing. Turned it again. Nothing. Our car always, always, always starts. It’s the one criteria – DVD player is nice, leather seats is nice, AC working is really nice, but my #1 rule is the car has to start. But it didn’t and it was clear it wasn’t going to.

So we called AAA and they told us someone would be there in 45 minutes to jump the car battery. And since it was only 97 degrees we were quite happy to sit inside our hot car and wait.

Thirty minutes later a man pulled up, told us he was sorry we’d already had our dinner because it would have been much nicer for us to sit inside the restaurant, eating, while he fixed our car. First sign that he was N.I.C.E.

So he jumped the car and it started. And it died. So he jumped the car and it started. And it died.

Then he told us our alternator was shot. And the parts store was open another ten minutes and he could either have us towed to somewhere or he could get the part and change out the alternator, then and there, in the restaurant parking lot. We were 40 minutes from home, with no way to get home, so we voted for fixing it right then.

He worked under the hotter than heck hood of our car for over an hour, sweat dripping off the end of his nose, holding a flashlight with one shoulder while he used every wrench in his tool box, and he changed out our alternator.

And he started the car. And it died. And he told us the battery was really drained and it would take 15 – 20 minutes to charge it back up. So we stood in the parking lot and waited and chatted and waited.

And it started and it died. And it started and it died.

So we called Walmart at almost 10 pm and they were open and they had batteries but nobody there to tell us which one we needed and we had no tools in the car to change it out anyway. So he told us he’d drive with us to Walmart and install the battery in the parking lot, for free. And we tried to pull out of the lot but the car died.

So he told us to lock our car and get in his big ole truck and he’d take us to Walmart so we didn’t have to sit in the hot car, or stand in the dark parking lot of the now closed restaurant. And we rode to Walmart in his truck while we chatted about family and life and raising teenagers and such.

And we went into Walmart and he told us to just wait at the checkout and he went and got us a battery and lugged it back to the checkout, in his greasy clothes, and plopped it on the belt for us.

And we got back in his big ole truck and he drove us back to the restaurant parking lot, where he tucked his flashlight against his shoulder and began to pull out our old battery, and install the new one.

And it started. And it ran. And he told us he hoped if he was broken down on the road someone would stay with him til they knew he was running. And he hoped if his wife was ever broken down on the road someone would help her.

And I hugged that grease-covered man, choked back the tears that came from standing in a hot parking lot for over three hours, worried about breaking down in the dark on the way home, and thanked him for being one of the finest people we’d ever met, and asked him to tell his wife thank you for us, for waiting his dinner and giving up their entire evening for him to go the extra mile for us.

As we drove away, with him following behind just to be sure our car was running fine, I wondered if just possibly he was an angel, disguised by a layer of grease.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2010 12:33 pm

    Sounds like he was to me!!!

  2. Mary Huckaby permalink
    June 25, 2010 12:36 pm

    Hi Bev! I loved this post!! Yes, I vote that he was an angel…and God sent him especially for YOU!

  3. June 25, 2010 1:19 pm

    He sounds just like one. God bless him!

  4. June 25, 2010 3:44 pm

    There really ARE nice people in this world! I’m glad you were able to get the car running again.

    Be sure to let AAA know who helpful this man was – they keep records on how well their affiliated service people perform.

  5. June 25, 2010 3:47 pm

    What a sweet story! I just love small towns where people still care……

  6. June 25, 2010 6:51 pm

    Welcome to the south y’all. Isn’t that just incredible? I believe you are right, the finest kind of angel there ever was. A greasy angel. Perfect!!

  7. June 25, 2010 7:06 pm

    I believe the scripture says that we could entertain angels unaware. If we are not aware they are angels, it’s probably because they look like greasy mechanics, paramedics, nurses, teachers, and next door neighbors. I just love your story!

  8. Brooke permalink
    June 25, 2010 8:44 pm

    So wonderful to hear stories about GOOD people! He was a gem!

  9. June 25, 2010 9:27 pm

    Welcome to Texas Bev!

    • June 25, 2010 9:37 pm

      Isn’t that the truth? We’re continually so surprised at how gracious and friendly people here are.

  10. June 25, 2010 9:58 pm

    What a wonderful story…and you told it beautifully.

  11. June 26, 2010 8:19 am

    I love “nice”, and I love that you noticed.

    Too often, I think people feel so entitled that they miss the extra mile others go for them. You never do, and I think it says so much about your character:-)

    “Angels in our midst” for sure.

    • June 26, 2010 8:28 am

      Kelly, a deep running compliment that I’ll hold close to my heart. xoxoxo

  12. June 27, 2010 7:01 pm

    You know, I’ve never lived in the north, so I’m not drawing a comparison here, but I will say, that’s an example of southern hospitality at it’s finest. Our weather down here is the pits (in the summer, at least), but we do grow good people. I’m glad you got to encounter one of them…..or an angel..whichever. 😉

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