By: Tosha Woronov
This is dedicated to the guy who saved my ass at 8:40 am on Friday, May 21st.
I’m always running late. Constantly rushing around, 10, 20 minutes behind schedule, dressed like a hag. This past Friday found me in the same state, dangerously late for a meeting at Leo’s new kindergarten. Backing out of the driveway, I noticed the low fuel gauge light, which I chose to ignore the night before, because at that time I was late getting Leo to sleep. I knew I could make it, even though his new school is in a different district, many many miles up the freeway. No time to stop.
Traffic sucked, as it always does on a Friday morning in Los Angeles. I should know better. I do know better. Two miles from my exit and ten minutes past my scheduled appointment, my car began to chug and lurch. Fuck. I pulled over just in time for it to stall completely. I reluctantly dialed my husband’s number. We had argued the night before and I wasn’t yet ready to make up, let alone ask for his help. I tried not to cry.
Just then, a Los Angeles Metro Freeway Service Patrol truck pulled up behind me. I told Peter to hang on; I was either going to be helped or get some sort of scolding. A guy in a fluorescent yellow vest appeared at my passenger window. I told him the problem. He said this: “I am allowed to give you one gallon of gas for free.” And then he did just that. I made it to a gas station, no longer caring so much about my meeting, just desperate to replenish my fuel tank. Aah. But I also made it to that meeting, in fact, slipped in without missing a thing.
This guy saved me –here, in Los Angeles, on the freeway!! No catch, no penalties, just a wish for good luck and a smile. The brochure he handed me states that by providing “free roadside assistance for stranded motorists” the freeway patrol can reduce traffic jams and further accidents caused by impatient drivers and gawkers. Dumbasses like me who run out of gas on the freeway contribute to more than fifty percent of traffic congestion.
This is our oh-so-ridiculously-high Los Angeles County sales tax at work. And it actually works. Thank you so much, nice guy in the fluorescent yellow vest.