People continually surprise me. Just when you think you're starting to figure out this humanity thing, someone invariably pulls out all the stops and blows you away by doing the exact opposite of what you expect them to do...
Aaron and I experienced this strange phenomenon again today. We were about 70 miles from home on the outskirts of a sizable city in the Midwest. Happily chatting away, we were at first oblivious to the loud, hissing sound of all the air leaking out of our driver's side rear tire. By the time we clued in to what was happening, we were rolling on rim. Argh. Thankfully, I wasn't alone (that would have spelled certain disaster), and my husband is handy with a car jack and tire iron. However, after five chrome lug nuts spun free, the sixth one gave him some serious trouble. Aaron heaved and pushed, stomped on the wrench, worked up a sweat, and in the end the only thing he accomplished was spreading open the heavy metal casing of the tool like a flower in bloom. It was actually pretty impressive. I even laughed at the obligatory jokes about his masculine prowess, bending steel with his bare hands and all that jazz.
At this point, it hit us that we had been stranded for ten minutes or so on the side of a pretty major highway (two lanes both ways) just past a busy intersection--and no one had stopped. Maybe that's not shocking to you, but being small town people, we were very surprised that no one had bothered to see if we needed a hand. I realize this is the age of cell phones and we could have easily grabbed ours and called a tow truck. But all the same, I'd stop for someone stranded. Wouldn't you?
What happened next was as unexpected as it was touching. Three different people did end up stopping for us. But it wasn't one of the dozens of 4x4 truck drivers that sped by, even though they were obviously equipped to help. It wasn't someone you'd expect, or even someone who knew how to change a tire (though I could be misjudging my big hearted rescuers). The people who stopped to help us were: an elderly gentleman who had a difficult time getting out of his car to talk to us, a young, single mom with her 8 month old baby sleeping in the backseat, and a Gothic-looking loner with piercings and a shirt monogrammed with screaming skulls. Each person emerged smiling, asking with sincere concern if there was anything that they could do for us. And each one of them ended up playing a part in getting us to the nearby dealership where we finally got our tire fixed (the perpetrator was a rusty nail).
Anyway, our little mid-morning adventure was hardly life-changing, but it did leave me with a smile on my face. I love being surprised. And I love being reminded that you can't judge a book by its cover.