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Monday, 7 March 2011

Good People Exist

So there we were, having ventured out at about 11.00pm in my sister's car in order to aid her boyfriend, whose Fiesta's tyre had punctured...the spare tyre, that is!  With us we took a pump, in the vague hope that it would be a slow puncture, and with him living only ten miles or so away, it might at least get him to the next garage where he could fill up on the free air properly, and get safely home.  No such luck; both cars pulled into the slip road outside a locked garden centre, hazard lights on, the car jacked up and him pumping away, it quickly became clear that it was useless.  Next option was my sister's spare; we pulled it from the back of her car, hoping against hope that the size might be the same, but of course it wasn't.  Next thought was his mother's tyres; perhaps they would be the same and we could arrange a swap?  No chance.  The only thing left was to call the recovery people, at which point he has a spiky conversation with the operative; we find ourselves thinking, there they are, sat in a warm room in a comfy chair, being all funny about the fact a spare tyre hadn't been it's so much more fun to break down on a cold night, interrupt this bloke's game of Pacman, and sit around for hours waiting for assistance than it is to be in bed! 

Upon confirmation that there will be a charge, despite being a paying member of this particular service, we decide it's an idea to move my sister's car round in front of the broken down Fiesta, giving room for the service man when he arrives.  Oh how ironic that I had been thinking only an hour earlier that all we need is for this car to break down as passing, you know?  What happens?  Dead battery!  So we push the car round to get it jump started, only to find the thing sparking.  In sheer disbelief at our bad luck, we decide it's best to leave it and wait for the aid to arrive, at which point we can ask.  We stand on the verge, nicely away from the cars; we give a wave to the police who drive we're not committing any major drug deals out here, and we're perfectly fine, thanks for stopping and checking....we give the obligatory finger to the chavs who speed by honking their horn at us...and we wait.

Perhaps half hour later, what is this, a car approaching us...coming the wrong way up the carridgeway, a siiver car!  Shit, the way our luck has been so far, we just know this is trouble; they've come back to humiliate us further at best, at worst beat and rob us!  I was only thinking earlier in the day that it had been a rather quiet, uneventful weekend, and had wished that something interesting would happen.  This is not what I had in mind, God!  The two of us guys are up and running  back to the two broken cars, my sister is ready with her phone....and what is this, one man in a grey tracksuit emerging from the car, and a girl in the passenger seat?  A different silver car.....a bloke asking what the problem is.  Very nice of him to go to the effort, but we figure there can only be one result here: "Can't do anything for you, mate, sorry and hope you get it sorted."  But no....he is driving a Fiesta...he has a spare...he is a second hand salesman who happens to deal with these cars?  Pretty freaky, but excellent news.  Can he offer the use of his spare?  Of course! He gets the spare from the back of his car, he removes his tools, he jacks the car up, changes the tyre.  How much for it?  Nothing, he says....simply return it?  Fair dos.  There's a look on the girl's face that says she's used to this; does this guy drive around late at night, looking for broken down cars to fix?  No, he just happens to have been to Southend for a one-off job, saw the hazard lights, and decided it would be fun to turn around, drive the wrong way up the road and offer his free assistance.  I start to wonder where his cape is, given that before even looking at changing the tyre on the Fiesta, he offers a jump on my sister's car as well.  Where does he come from....about 15 minutes away, and what should we do about my sister's dodgy battery, which is clearly shot, since it dies after having hazards on?  "Pop it round when you get the tyre back to me, get a battery and I'll do it for you".  So, no cash wanted, no rush on getting the tyre back?  Not at all.  And why all this effort on his part?  Because he has been in our situation and figured he could help.

Safe to say we were stunned by the way a whole load of bad luck became one giant dollop of good luck in the form of one gentleman who just happened to be passing, and out of nothing but the goodness of his heart, performend a bit of magic and got us of a horrible, cold spot within ten minutes.  Incidentally, during this time the recovery service have called and are trying to find our location; I feel slightly bad for the driver, who does not yet know that Mr Magic Car Repairman here has come along, sprinkled some magic dust and fixed everything before he has even been made aware the job has been cancelled.

A man who would not have been driving that stretch had he not had a one off job that evening, who deals with Fiestas, who is driving a Fiesta, who has a spare, jumper cables and tools, who turned around and came back the wrong way, who lives on our doorstep, and who wants nothing for any of this?  It's almost enough to make me believe in a God.  Proof people: there are good people around, they exist!  This particular good person restored some of my faith in humanity on this cold, quiet night.

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