I’m a little irritated this morning because I am getting a really late start on getting things done today. You see it all started this morning at 5:30 am when my house was attacked by Ninjas. No I haven’t been hitting the Egg Nog early this morning. You see I have the worlds craziest Jack Russell Terrier, or as we call her Jack Russell TERROR! Blessed with incredible amounts of OCD, Panic and anger issues, she has for the most part been highly entertaining to us over the years. So at 5:30am this morning, a morning that I was not going to work and could sleep in a little, the next door neighbors Yorkie, named Gumbo and Miniature Dachshund named Oscar came to my back door and started barking. Yip yip yip yip. I heard them, my wife heard them, and Pokey, the fore mentioned Jack Russell TERROR heard them. What ensued could only be described as a complete melt down by all participants at my glass back door. The hysterical barking was literally of epic proportions! I screamed at my dog to shut up and added threats of extreme violence that of course she could not understand. At 5:32 am this morning I got out of the bed to shut up the dogs. I picked up pokey and flicked the back porch light on and off several times and the two little ninjas were repelled from their invasion and went home. At 5:40am this morning the Jack Russell Terror was still having an epic meltdown. So I snatched her up, sat down on the couch and tried to calm the mutt down through gritted teeth. As I was sitting there I started thinking about Christmas and the events of the day before. While I hope the first part of this story and the insane little dog I have amused you, there is a better story of charity and giving. A story of something much bigger than one random act of kindness, but of a cycle of people helping others that is bigger than themselves and a single random act, it’s a story of a continuing cycle of putting someone else before your self. A great Story of Christmas.
The second week of every December is usually the biggest trade show in the high performance automotive market called the PRI Show. PRI stands for Performance Racing Industry to save you the Google search. For many years it has been held in Orlando Florida because of the size of the Orange County Convention Center but was moved back to where it had been previously for many years Indianapolis Indiana. Much more centrally located in the US, it is without all the distractions of Orlando with Disney, Universal and Sea World for those who attend these shows. It was very evident in the years we were in Florida that the interest level was missing from attendees of the PRI show and that many engine builders and racers from the Midwest did not attend because of the distance and cost. So we were all very excited to return to the ball shrinking cold of Indianapolis in the Winter. And Indy did not disappoint either. It was freakin cold! Now in my line of work I was an exhibitor at the trade show and I had been pulling our products in my 24 foot enclosed trailer and my F-250 Ford Truck powered by the best motor Ford ever built, the 7.3L turbo diesel. The only problem this motor has is that it is the coldest blooded son-of-a-bitch that has ever been built as well! Sorry for the use of vulgarity but perhaps it will be justified as your read on. I live in the Deep South you see, and even down here if it drops below 50 degrees it won’t start unless I plug in the engine that has an oil heater into a power source. There are 15 quarts of oil in that motor and when the engine gets too cold the oil gets really think and the engine won’t turn over because it is too hard on the battery and starter. So warming up the engine oil makes it easier to turn over and start. And it works great if you have an ac outlet to plug in. So I knew this heading up to Indy with my rig and I armed myself with 5qty 75-100 foot long extensions cords as well as jumper cables and a battery charger. I knew this was going to be an issue but thought I had things covered. So I get up there, snow on the ground and it is every bit the article tundra I had expected. I had no problem hauling my rig up there and got everything unloaded better than expected. Now unlike warm and sunny Florida with miles of parking everywhere, Indy was much different. Ball shrinking cold downtown and no parking anywhere. The exhibitors were all told we had to park in a marshaling yard off site. I started to worry but felt like this is a big city surely there is a plan to start these trucks and a nearby power source right? Wrong. We were put in a very run down part of town and there wasn’t the first building or power source anywhere! There was a portable tent used by security and they had propane heaters to keep warm. I started worrying a bit more. I made several inquiries to the security staff about how all these diesels were going to start after being locked up all week in the cold. All I got was a shoulder shrug and the blank look of confusion. I knew I was screwed.
The show went great and after a long week of working representing the brands and manufacturers I do for a living it was time to pack up and return home. I trudged off in the snow in dress clothes to get my truck praying the whole way. With wet feet from my long walk to the truck in freezing cold weather and snow, I removed all the snow from the truck and tried to start it. Nothing. Turned over better than I had hoped but would not start. I ran the battery down trying. I had a guy try to jump start the truck and it would not turn over. He was a younger guy and was willing to help, but was on a tight time schedule. So I thanked him and he headed off and I called progressive, my insurance company to call me a tow truck to help. I have road side assistance. I called and told them I had an F -250 diesel and it is clearly listed as such on my insurance policy. After an hour of waiting what they sent we an old 4 door passenger car and a booster pack! What the Hell? This is never going to start my truck. By the way I am freezing cold and wet and growing very irritated with Progressive. Truck wouldn’t start and I asked the guy who I think had a pizza delivery sign and baby seat in his car that I needed a proper tow truck to start my truck. He calls it back in and they apologized and told me it would be another hour before someone could come out. I had a Pokey style meltdown on Progressive and told them that I didn’t care how much it cost, or what they had to do, I was freezing cold, and had to load up my stuff from the show and head home! That met with tons of practiced apologies and not much more. Wouldn’t you know it another hour passed and what showed up? Another passenger car with another booster pack! Before I could loose my mind on this guy and Progressive, another show exhibitor with a truck happened along and offered to help. He saw I was not shivering from the cold but shuddering! I told him that I had tried to jump it before and that it didn’t work and he said then we were doing it wrong and it would just take time to recharge the battery. I had no other choice, felt bad for inconveniencing him but took him up on his offer. He told me to warm up in his truck and he connected the jumper cables to one of the two batteries diesel trucks have because how hard they are to start. As it turns out my primary battery to the starter was either frozen or bad as it would not hold a charge. So he tried charging the secondary battery. At first it was not working but after several minutes the battery started getting stronger and the engine got nearer to starting. After 30 minutes of him standing in the cold with me we got it started! I could not have run into a more generous person who actually knew about diesel trucks! I thanked him repeatedly and offered to pay him, uh him dinner, anything! He saved my frozen butt for hours of more waiting! This also put him behind getting his stuff too. He was a PRI show exhibitor too and one of the most helpful people I ever met. We exchanged business cards and I thanked him again and said if there was anything I could ever do for him to please let me know. He said there was nothing I could do but to just pass on the kindness to someone else. We have all heard this before and watched the Facebook video of how someone helps another in a big city and was observed by someone else who them helps another and so on and so on. But this was me, not a video on Facebook and does that stuff really happen? It does.
So yesterday I am at my office still sifting though all of the PRI show follow up and I come across the guy who helped me start my truck’s business card. I wanted to send him and email wishing him a Merry Christmas but there was no email address on his card. I thought I would send him a thank you card. I headed home shortly after that and when I entered into my neighborhood I noticed that one of my neighbors was trying to clean up a fallen tree from a storm we had the night before. He was using a bow saw and pruning shears and was clearly overmatched with the size of the fallen tree. I know most of you already know where this is going right? I have a brand new stihl chain saw the wifey bought me just to carve bears with. (I always wanted to try this) So I hurried over there and what was taking him all afternoon, he and I finished in about 10 minutes. Turns out they are not very power tool friendly at his house and he, like I was very appreciative that I came over with my chain saw and saved him hours of hard work. He wasn’t even close to being down when I got there. So I proceeded to tell home the story of the man who helped my in Indianapolis and that I was blessed to have the opportunity to help someone else as I had been helped. Now I, like many of you help people every day in ways we don’t even think about. Even a friendly smile to someone or holding a door for someone with an armful of groceries are simple ways we help others everyday. This was different though. I felt that I was part of something bigger than the daily acts of kindness many of us do everyday. Perhaps because I had a story to tell the guy I was able to help with my chain saw and that the story might be told to someone else who then might be compelled to help someone else. Like the man who helped me, I did go out of my way to help my neighbor with the fallen tree.
The strange thing is that I did not feel like I was paying a debt off or that greater glory or thanks would come my way. I felt part of something bigger and that was meant to happen. I was thrilled to be part of that. It was that feeling of being part of something bigger that has made me write this and share with you during this Christmas Season. I truly hope that all of you can participate in something like this and have the same feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. Something bigger such as what the Spirit of Christmas is all about.
So to wrap up my Christmas Eve story and wish for everyone to have a very Merry Christmas, I want to end with beautiful picture I found while on my iPad using the Bing app picture of the day. It is the Garden of Morning Calm on South Korea. It is simply beautiful. Thank you for reading my story and being part of Mobility Digest.