A typical night shared along next to my bedside a deck of cards worn from being shuffled every night. Not your average deck of cards, but Oracle cards that help me set an intention for myself before meditation or maybe sometimes I have to admit, I pull the ol’ crystal ball question and shuffle the deck to see what the future holds for me. In this particular case, I asked for nothing and allowed the Universe to send me whatever message I needed to read. This night I pulled the “Safe Travels” card. “Hmmm… don’t get that card very much and I’m not planning a trip anytime soon”. We’ll just leave this as a little hiccup from the Universe that maybe a mistake was made when this card appeared before my eyes.
To my surprise, the hiccup might have been a small warning of what was to come on a typical Saturday morning hussle, blessed with work, sports and errands. After finally making it to the bagel shoppe for a slew of baked varieties in a brown bag, I made my way to the van, threw the bagels to the side and turned the ignition to start up a string of jalopy-like sputters that died soon after it barely started. Okay, let’s try this again. Baroooom, chug, chug, chug… flop. Nothing. After countless tries, rests in-between and then hubby to the rescue, it was obvious after speaking with our mechanic that a tow was necessary. Never needing a tow in my years of mileage, I was suddenly grateful to be stuck in a parking lot close to home on this perfect sunny, hot day with nothing of importance on my plate, and extremely grateful that I did not cancel our AAA coverage that I’ve been meaning to do as yet another cutback in our budget.
Knowing approximately how long the tow truck would be, I shooed hubby away who offered to stay and wait with me and decided to keep my cell close and head for the plaza stores to kick the time. Unfortunately, the short time I had to wait, turned longer and I was longing the for the company of hubby once again as my mind raced to think of having to share a truck with a strange man.
Soon enough, light at the end of the tunnel was clear and the purr of AAA graced its presence with a big smile from Craig peering down from his flatbed. He proceeded to apologize for his lateness as the Police needed him prior to coming to get me as he smiled while patiently tending to the needs of my van. Giving his own technical take on the van, he tested mechanical thingy’s this way and that, but in the end a tow was still the answer. Seeing me squirm in the heat, he guided me to his air conditioned truck, while he effortlessly took the 3 minutes to get my van on his flatbed. And I mean that literally. 3 minutes was all it took before he hopped in, still smiling and started leading us out of the parking lot, but not before a little old lady waved us down. Craig pulled over to the Woman along my side and rolled the window down.
“Can I help you?” he yelled over the loud hum of the truck.
“Are, are you here for me?” She said hesitantly in a little accent, I was not familiar with. She proceeded to say she put a call in to AAA and has been waiting for a truck.
I turned back to Craig, “We have to help her.” Craig more than agreed and before you know it, guided Anna into his safe abode as he feverishly worked in the heat to play with her Nissan’s mechanical thingy’s too. Anna and I introduced ourselves, we sat and chatted about family, neighborhoods and work while our eyes continued to peer back and forth as guilt pressured us to keep checking on Craig as we sat in coolness.
Two cars now hitched on back, Craig jumped in and continued our delayed exit from the parking lot, unfortunately, we did not get very far. This time a horrific accident across the highway. Bad. Real bad. The kind where you want to look, but you’re afraid of what you’re going to find, bad. An accident across the highway, shutting both sides down. The three of us yearned to help, but knew there was nothing we could do as the Police and Firefighters worked endlessly to retrieve people from their cars. There were no more cars or people to invite into our threesome and there was no where for our over sized truck to go as the patrolman forced us off to a detour that lead no where. Craig continued to maneuver our massive cargo back on the main road ahead and detoured himself to back country roads he was familiar with. “I don’t normally like to ride these hair-pin turns with two cars on the back, but I don’t have a choice.” He grinned, loving the anticipation of a joyride in the air. I turned to Anna perched on the other side of me, holding on for dear life with no seat belts equipped for the three of us and yelled to her over the roar of the truck. “Hold on Anna, it’s gonna get hairy!” As we continued to bounce and pounce and lean this way and that as our driver channeled us through the countryside.
What took up an hour of our time, created a bond-ship as the three of us rattled and rolled to clear highway once again. It amazed me the conversation that could come between three strangers once stranded separately and alone now connected, comfortable and laughing at our little unplanned Saturday excursion. I handed Anna my mechanics card as we dropped her off and she hugged me like old friends that shared an “experience” together. Craig walked her in and waited until she was safe with a ride home before taking his smile back on the truck for his last drop off.
“Smiley” is just so nice and so happy, I thought to myself. He must be happily married with kids… he must be doing what he absolutely loves and if there’s one thing I love about happiness, it’s sharing those tips with my yoga classes, I gotta pick his brain to share with my students!
“So Craig do you have any kids?” I pried. “Well actually…” he paused. “I lost my little 2 1/2 year old baby girl over a year ago. She died in my arms on my 41st birthday. I thought I was going to bring her home on my birthday, but instead she died.”
Bam! Just like that, my heart swallowed as I felt my happiness twist into sadness for his aching heart. I proceeded to tell him how sorry I was, how awful I felt, but he assured me he was okay and was man enough to tell me it was the only thing, even after being a volunteer firefighter for years that brought him straight to his knees. He continues to work at staying happy for his 10 year old daughter, “… the pride and joy of my life!” he lit up again.
Still smiling Craig pushed his feelings aside and landed me safe to where hubby and mechanic waited. I graciously tipped him for all his hard work, his patience and his kindness. But really he tipped me. He gave me that much needed tip to share with all of you to remember…
“Happiness is not a stroke of luck that will descend upon you like fine weather. It is the consequence of personal effort. Happiness is something you fight for, strive for, insist upon and sometimes travel around the world looking for. We have to participate in the manifestations of our own blessings. Once achieved, we must keep the effort in swimming upward into forever happiness.”