The world needs more Russells.
More on Russell in a moment, but first some backstory.
I had picked up my son from school, and we were stopped at a light on our way home. The guy behind me began honking and waving out of his driver’s side window. I stuck my head out my window and looked back. The guy said, “Hey, man, you’re leaking something pretty bad under your car!” I gave him a thumbs up, and then said to myself, “Great. Just make it home…”
I would not make it home. I made it another mile or so, and the temperature gauge began to spike. And steam began pouring out from under the hood.
I pulled over at the first place I could, a parking lot about a mile from my house.
My son and I got out of the car and began to assess the situation. And that’s when we met Russell.
Russell is a silver-haired gentleman with a cool and easy disposition. He told me to pop the hood. He said he’d call his sons-in-law, who live next door, as they’d be able to help out. They were there in about two minutes.
During that two-minute wait, Russell told us that he lived on the property a bit behind the lot, and that he was waiting for his granddaughter at her bus stop. The younger guys showed up in short order, and quickly diagnosed the problem. It was evident my car was not going to be driven anywhere any time soon. I said that I would call a tow truck and figure it out from there. Russell said that they could probably replace it pretty easily, as his sons-in-law knew their way around car engine.
Now, normally, I wouldn’t have taken him up on this offer. First off, you don’t generally just find the guy who knows cars who happens to be in proximity to where your car breaks down. But there was something genuine about Russell and his in laws that assured me we would not be harvested for organs later in the day.
They suggested I head up to the auto parts store around the corner and get the part, and they would tow my car down the block to their house.
Russell said, “Come on. I’ll take you up there.” So there we were, on a routine Friday afternoon, crammed three across in the front of a Ford Ranger, heading up to buy a part for my car with an older gentleman I had just met. We spent the bulk of the ride talking fishing, with him telling my son some of his favorite spots to go. Just a typical Friday for Team Gibbons.
We had the part in about 10 minutes, and we headed back to the house. They had the part put back in after about 30 minutes, and the car was up and running again in no time. I didn’t have any cash on me, but I wanted to give them something for their efforts. I headed off and grabbed some money from the bank. When I returned to the house, Russell came out, a smile on his face. I extended him my hand and said, “I wanted to give y’all something for your troubles.”
“Nope,” Russell said. “Keep it.”
In our short trip to the auto parts store, Russell had mentioned that he liked a particular restaurant, so I went back the next day and took them a gift card, so they could at least have a nice dinner as thanks from a very grateful family.
What could have been a really bad day instead turned into a really good day. All because Russell happened to be there, and his awesome sons-in-laws helped me out when I was in need of a hand. So as you go through this life, let Russell be one of your guiding forces. Because the world needs more Russells.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.