Snowbank Blues: Thank you to all Good Samaritans!

Tired after a long day at the office I drove to North Bay at 8:30 p.m. last night to get my son Tim, who was performing in an Arts Fest. Driving conditions were not great, with a lot of snow falling and black ice on the highway. It is an hour drive to North Bay from our office.

On our return home I saw what appeared to be a car flipped over in the snowbank on the opposite side of the highway. I could barely see one red tail light. It was late and there were not many cars on the road, so I turned left heading the other direction until I came to the overturned vehicle.

Two men had just emerged from the car, and were quite shaken up. They had hit a patch of black ice. Their vehicle was a wreck! I gave them my phone to call 911 and offered for them to sit in my car for warmth until the police arrived. I was not the only one to stop. There were others that stopped to ask if anyone needed help. The police came about 10 minutes later.

When the police arrived, my son and I started to drive away. We drove over something and we heard a noise in our wheels. I thought it was a chunk of ice in the wheel well. The noise got worse and worse and we made our way to the closed gas station where there was a large flood light, to take a closer look. It was part of the fender of the car that had flipped. This is not great news. We unknowingly drove over it when we stopped. Now we were in a pickle, because it was not easy to remove. We tried tugging and moving the car back and forth and it was most certainly jammed.

After 20 minutes of attempting to get this object out of my wheel well, a man stopped his car next to ours in the closed gas station asking if we needed help. He took a look and asked me to turn the wheel to the left and to our amazement, it popped out! Well, I guess that was my payback for stopping and assisting the others!

We continued on our drive and passed several other flipped over cars and flashing lights. It was a frightening night for driving indeed. We finally came to our home town and started down our road. Unfortunately, it had not yet been plowed, and my little Prius was slipping and sliding away. I was doing my best to keep it on track, when 10 minutes from home a snowbank swallowed the passenger tires and pulled us in! We were so close!

It was getting quite late by now, 12 a.m. and I had been up since 6. Exhausted and not in my best humour we popped open the trunk and got out the usual supplies….a shovel, a warm pair of gloves, my headlamp, and two tire grips to place under the tires to give them traction.

We dug a trench to free up the wheels from the snowbank, and put the grips in place. The wheels spun. We moved back and forth and back and forth, but to no avail. My 6 ft 250 lb son gave the car the best push he could, but we could not get out of the bank.

The choices before us were: start walking into the blowing snow for home, or stay put and hope someone will come along at 1 a.m. in the morning on a road that is not very well traveled during the day! Oh, did I mention we live beyond phone/electricity or cell phone range?

We got back into the car and decided to stay put after recalling recent stories on the news about people dying or coming close to death in snowstorms after falling into snowbanks. After about 20 minutes, a truck pulled up next to us. It was “Ed” one of our dog sledding friends. He offered to lend a hand and pulled us out of the snowbank with his truck and a chain. It took about 4 attempts and then my car was set free!

I sit here a bit puzzled…..What was that all about? A question that comes into my mind is “What does it mean to be a caring person”? Would you have stopped to help a stranger in need? I invite your input as to the message this story has for you!

Thank you to all Good Samaritans! I will continue to pay it forward.
Martha

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