This morning on my drive in to work I encountered a road hazard. It was a piece of construction detritus that had fallen into the lane of travel. Being unable to avoid it, I clipped it with my two driver’s side tires. I knew instantly that I needed to pull over and sure enough, by the time I reached the shoulder of the road, the steering had become sluggish in my car. I eased off the road as far as possible before getting out to survey the damage. The front tire had already gone flat. It was not going to be my day.
Being a very self-sufficient woman, I opened the trunk and removed my jack, tire tools, and spare ‘donut’ tire. I pulled the retainer board to use under my knees as I was wearing a skirt and began the arduous process of changing my tire. I had the car jacked up and the front tire off when I noticed the sound. A quiet ‘shhhhh’ was coming from the rear tire. Luck was not on my side. Both tires were going flat and I only had a single spare tire.
Fortunately for me, the construction crew noticed my predicament and came to offer assistance. The supervisor finished putting my spare on the front and then jacked up the back of the car and removed the second tire. Both flats were placed in a work truck and I was driven to the tire repair center where both tires were covered for road hazard. After the tires were fixed, the helpful construction crew put them back on my car and returned the equipment to my trunk. I was on my way in just under 2.5 hours and my faith in humanity had been restored.
During my ordeal, I considered how disparaging my situation had seemed at first. I had felt helpless. Standing on the side of the road with two flat tires and only one spare made me feel anxious nearly to the point of hopelessness. One tire I could have dealt with, I was completely unprepared for two. Proverbially, this is how life hands you lemons. You very seldom receive one easily dealt with lemon; generally you get a handful and have to figure out how the best way to deal with them. Sometimes you have some sugar and water and can make some lemonade but other times, you are standing beside the road during rush hour traffic. It’s during those times, when your options are limited and depression is setting in, that you have to seek outside help.
While my situation was less than ideal, it had not reached the point where I was out of options. I have roadside assistance service that I could have called. They would have provided me with a tow truck to take my car home. I could have also called my adult son or one of my friends who, I am sure, would have helped me get the tires to the repair center. One last option, that I could have considered, would have been to leave the car and worry about it later. These are about the same options that are available in other aspects of life. In fact, they are very similar to the options offered on a popular game show. I had the option of using a lifeline to phone a friend or ask the audience for help. No matter what the situation is, these options ALWAYS exist. While we may not consider using a lifeline, they are still there.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that options always exist. For others, though, options may not be as apparent. Some people may have unresolved issues with their family that prevents them from asking family for help. They may not have a large group of friends or they may be separated by distance from those friends making their friends unable to help. Or, a person may view their situation as so hopeless and beyond help that they simply refuse to ask for help. My story should serve to remind those people that sometimes, a group of strangers can come to your rescue. This morning, for me, it was a group of construction workers who saw that I needed assistance. They were willing to step up and help. I felt secure in trusting them because their supervisor was an integral part of getting help for me. I trusted his position of authority and was provided with the assistance that I needed to get back on the road and moving. This doesn’t mean that everybody you meet can be trusted but it does help prove that when you are truly in need, an authority figure can help find you the assistance you need.
Remember, no matter what you are facing, if you need help you have to be willing to seek out help and accept it when it is offered. Don’t face your struggles alone.