Oh, what a day. All I want to do is just get home, take my shoes off, and relax.
And the traffic on I-787 is looking rough. In fact, as I’m exiting 787 on Exit 8, the traffic looks like an old Boston traffic jam. Memories of the radio traffic reports from the old WEEI radio station, talking about how the traffic is bumpah-tah-bumpah on Storrah Drive, bumpah-ta-bumpah on the Central Artery, bumpah-ta-bumpah on Tobin, bumpah-ta-bumpah near Kenmore Square…
You laugh now, but before they built that Mass Turnpike tunnel under Boston, traffic was worse.
So I’m getting off Exit 8 of I-787, and the traffic is at a crawl. And as I reached Lower Hudson Avenue to head home …
I saw the problem.
A white Hyundai, stalled directly in traffic. Lights off. No flashers. Nothing.
That’s not good.
Listen. I don’t care who it is, if you’re stuck in traffic like that, and your car broke down, the last thing you need is more stress. And this guy’s not in a safe spot. I know the traffic’s slow now, but all it takes is one joker who’s in a hurry and doesn’t see the car in the twilight … and bam.
I got to Lower Hudson Avenue and parked my car at the entrance to the park. Ran back to the off-ramp, where I saw the driver conversing with another stopped car. Collision? No. Second car’s driver was searching her trunk for jumper cables, hoping that she could get this guy’s Hyundai battery back in motion.
I coordinated with both parties. If she was going to give this guy a jump, and since he had no power in his car to even activate his hazard flashers, I needed to help out. So I took a few paces from the rear of his car, and motioned with my arms to the crawling oncoming traffic to merge to the right. Form one lane.
Most people understood. Some people decided to show me that they could count to one on their hand. Others rolled down the window and cursed at me. “Turn on your fucking hazard lights, motherfucker!” one erstwhile gentleman suggested. “Stop blocking traffic, motherfucker!” another commanded. “You’re fucking blocking my way home, shithead!” came the kind words from a third person. A fourth person said something to me in Spanish, something about a puta, I think that might be what he said.
Well, it’s nice to know that if I ever got stuck like that on the highway, I can count on a quick call to AAA to solve things. Because these chuds apparently have better things to do with their lives than help a stranded motorist.
Eventually a state trooper arrived, along with a DOT help truck. The truck driver pulled out a jumper cable power box, and clipped the cables directly to the Hyundai’s battery. A few attempts to start the car.
Unfortunately, all that happened was grinding noises and smoke. Hyundai was dead in the water.
The officer told the Hyundai driver to put his car in neutral. With a few bumps from the police car, the Hyundai was gently pushed out of the intersection and over to safety, where a tow truck could be summoned.
The other Samaritan driver and I both wished the Hyundai driver good luck, and that we hoped things would get better.
Then I drove home.
Wow. I keep thinking about this. We live in such a self-centered universe. All these people could have stopped to offer assistance, to help move the car out of harm’s way, to calm the situation.
Instead, that driver was met with curse words and middle fingers. How dare that man have car trouble and inconvenience someone else’s commute. Quel dommage!
I mean, honestly, I wish I could have done more for the guy. I offered to call AAA to help the guy out – I’ve done that before, a couple of years ago I came across a Toyota whose front axle snapped in the middle of an intersection, and I called AAA on my membership card to tow them to safety.
A little kindness can go a long way. Help when you’re able. Trust me. We all get stuck in awful situations. God forbid our awful situations inconvenience your day. Ugh.