“What the hell?” I shout as I look in my rear-view mirror and see this guy waving at me. Straining to see if I recognize him, I decide to ignore him, turn up the music, and sing:
“Say my name, say my name If no one is around you, say "baby I love you" If you ain't runnin' game Say my name, say my name”
I am heading north up the 405 in heavy traffic on my way to my friend Crystal, and her fiance Tom’s apartment, for dinner. Almost to my exit in Costa Mesa I feel a sudden jerk of the wheel.
Cars are zipping past me as my Grand Am starts slowing down. I check my mirrors and see an opportunity to make my way to the right shoulder. The right rear side of my car starts making a loud thumping sound. Flat Tire.
Coming to a halt on the right shoulder, I start trying to figure out; what do I do now? Then it hits me, Crystal’s fiance owns a small rental car company, surely he can come help me with the flat, and I am less than a mile from their apartment.
I pull out my cell phone and dial their number….ring, ring….
Me: “Hey, I just had a flat tire on the 405, do you think Tom can come help me with it?”
Crystal: “Oh, no…uh, I dunno. Let me ask”
Cars whiz past as she places her hand over the receiver, in muffled tones she asks Tom what he wants to do, I can’t make out his answer.
Crystal: “Tom says just have it towed somewhere”
Me: “but I don’t have AAA, or any money, can’t he come and change the tire, I am right at the exit to your house”
Crystal: “he said it would just be easier to tow it so you can take it to Sears and get a new tire”
Me: “I don’t even know who to call to have it towed though!”
Crystal: “Tom can give you a number of a tow company they use for the rental cars, let me call you back and I’ll get you the number”
Crystal hangs up the phone and I burst into tears. Why is this happening to me!? I hate California, I can’t rely on anyone here. Then I look in my rear view mirror and see a white Honda Civic pull up behind me, one of those lowered ones with tinted windows and a rear spoiler. A Hispanic man exits, he’s short with big tattooed arms, he walks over to my passenger window and motions for me to roll it down, I comply.
Him: “Hey, you got a flat tire"
I answer, but try not to make eye-contact.
Me: “yea, I know”
Him: “well, do you have someone coming to help you? Like AAA?”
Me: “My friend is calling a tow truck for me”
Him: “do you have a spare? ‘Cause if you do then I can change it for you”
I look at him, trying to decide if it’s a good idea or not to trust this man with changing my tire and basically my life on the side of the freeway. He seemed to have good intentions…do I trust him? I’ve heard a lot of stories of people getting roadside assistance from a passerby that robbed them….oh what to do!?
I pop the trunk and he heads to the back and starts going to work on the tire. About ten minutes later he comes to the window and says, "You're all done, you're good to go"
Me: “Thank You, I really appreciate that”
He starts to walk away, and I call out to him “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Angel” he answers.
I sit back in my seat and watch him get back into his white car, he cautiously enters back into traffic and drives away. Wow, I thought…I just met my guardian angel.
My cell phone rings, it flashes Crystal’s phone number, I answer:
Crystal: “hey, Tom found the number, he said get the car towed to Sears. We'll save some dinner for you”
Me: “Thanks but I don’t need the number, I am already on my way to your house, I’ll explain when I get there”
A complete stranger, my Angel, came and helped me that day. My “friends” didn’t want to be inconvenienced. That was ten years ago, at the time I was 21 and living in California, I had no family to call on, and I had relied on my “friends” for everything. Some friends they turned out to be.