January 27, 2013

On a[n empty] Gas Tank and a[n overflowing] Heart.

The ever-so-deceptive fuel gauge in Rahab.
First things first: my fuel gauge is broken in my car. The line is always on F, perpetually lying to me.

Second, you'd think I'd have learned by now. I have to guess estimate when I need my next fill-up based on my mileage. Even after a few sputtering stops from an empty tank over the course of my three-and-a-half year relationship with Rahab, I still try and wait as long as possible hoping the prices will drop a few more cents. But pinching pennies doesn't always turn out as planned.

Driving home from work, I thought to myself, "It's probably about time I got gas." I turned right (in the direction of the nearest filling station). Seconds after I turned Rahab starting making the familiar sputtering sounds. Immediately, the RPMs fell faster than rain out of the sky during a Springfield thunderstorm.

On the last fumes of gas, I maneuvered my car to the turn lane as she coasted to a halt.

I put my hazards on and looked up and down the street, trying to figure out if a gas station was in walking distance. However, I wasn't too keen on leaving my car in the middle of the road. I thought of people I could call, but everyone who came to mind was still at work or in class.

Just then, I heard a honk behind me. I realized someone else had entered the turn lane, which I was now blocking.

I opened my door, mouthed "sorry!" and motioned for him to drive around, but instead, the old man inside rolled down his window. He asked me if something was wrong with my car, and I told him I ran out of gas and something about how a friend was on the way to help me.

"I could just drive you down to a gas station," he offered. "Do you have a gas can?"

"No, I'd have to get one there," I answered.

"I live just down the road, I'll go get mine."

While he was retrieving his gas can, I pulled some cash out of my wallet (which I happened to have [I NEVER carry cash], because Laurin and I had gone to the cash only cheap movie theatre to see Pitch Perfect the previous Saturday). A few minutes later, he pulled up in his dark blue minivan. I gave him $10 and said I'd stay there with the car, that way I wouldn't lose my car, my life, or my debit card if he was a crazy. The most I'd lose was $10 and my pride, which was long gone by this point.

But true to his word, he returned a few minutes later with three gallons of gas. He chatted me up about how his daughter's car has a broken fuel gauge too and how his wife always forgets to get gas. I don't know his name. I don't know anything about him. He filled up my tank, I thanked him profusely, and we both went on our way.

Sometimes not having it all together is humbling, and it opens the door to being blessed by the graciousness of other people. Next time you're in a pickle, don't immediately try and figure it out on your own. Look for the goodness in other people. They might surprise you.

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