Have you ever been driving on the freeway in a new city and noticed your car shaking uncontrollably and then smelled burning rubber and smoke and realized the giant black chunks you see behind you in your rear-view mirror are remnants of what used to be your tire?
Yeah, that happened to me last week.
Right after dropping my mother-in-law at the airport.
Insult to injury, right there.
I managed to get to the side of the freeway without running anyone else off the road, all the while struggling not to say bad words and scream and cry.
I had no idea what to do next.
Reece was at work.
I've never changed a tire and was unaware of the presence of a spare in our trunk.
Cars were coming at us at an alarming speed.
And the clincher: my babies hadn't been changed in over an hour and were both in serious need of a nap.
I finally reached Reece, who gave me the number for roadside assistance.
After sorting everything out, I was told help would be there in about 35 minutes.
Not ideal, but doable.
At this point, though, my kids started to get a little restless.
Can't say that I blame them.
Salvation came in the form of a Princess Belle doll -- purchased earlier that day with the intention of saving it for Lola's August birthday.
During this time, three different police officers pulled up behind me to make sure we were OK.
People in this here state sure are friendly.
Finally, about thirty minutes after we pulled over, a truck with flashing lights appeared in my mirror.
I assumed it was the roadside assistance I'd requested, so we sat tight as the man quickly swapped out the shredded tire for our spare.
I was about to thank him when he poked his head in my window and said,
"I was never here. This has to be off the books. I just wasn't about to let a mother and her kids sit on the side of the freeway like that. Drive safely and get those babies home."
And just like that, he was gone.
I was incredibly confused, but just glad to be able to drive home.
When by the time I got the kids into the apartment it was about 5.
I got a call from the real roadside assistance person about ten minutes later, telling me he didn't think he'd get to us until about 6:30.
So basically, we would have been stranded -- during rush hour -- for three hours if not for the mystery tire changer.
I will be forever grateful to this guy for rescuing us.
I will be forever grateful to my kids for keeping their cool.
I will be forever grateful to Princess Belle for distracting my very cautious daughter.
It's nice to know someone is looking out for us.
I'm also grateful to Trader Joe himself, because after an afternoon on the side of I-5, I needed something to drown my sorrows.
The tire fiasco gave me good reason to find and visit the nearest Costco.
The moment we walked through those warehouse doors, all was right with the world once again.
Just ask my kids.
Costcophiles in training.