Friday, September 22

Helping Hands on Kernan And Why Some People Stop

I have always stopped for others in distress. I have yet to get mugged. On the other hand, I have yet to get paid in a Rolex like one guy I know. But I don't stop to help people in the hopes that they've got cash for me. I stop because I'd hope one of them will someday stop for my wife or kids when they are in need. So far, I've gotten to see some of the ups and downs of Jacksonville when it comes to stopping to help others.

I was the first to need help. I was stuck on Kernan with a dead transmission. Just barely in traffic, I had no way of moving my SAAB, and it was school rush hour on the road, so insane. While I'm sure someone in a an extra-large pickup would have stopped eventually, the person who did stop to help push my car out of the way drove a sensible sedan. Very nice guy. He even gave me a ride back home, taking another ten minutes out of his commute. One other person stopped as I worked on the car later. He asked if I needed help, but he also wanted to check out my Bertone X 1/9 repair car. All told, I probably saw a couple hundred cars go by my direction, and two stopped, so that's 1%, but it's at someone, and within ten minutes each time I was off to the side of the road.

Of course, when I saw a car stuck at the Kernan Forest entrance about a month after my misfortune, I had to stop and ask. It was a young mom with two kids and a flat tire. At first, she was apprehensive, I think, telling me someone was coming. But I pushed her to get the spare out of the trunk, since it would be necessary anyhow. This was at about 9pm at night, and what surprised me the most was the amount of traffic at the subdivision entrance at this time. I began to wonder if there's a night club in Kernan Forest of which I was unaware. Two other people stopped. One left when she realized parking with her lights on us to help was going to cause an accident.

Actually, that's one of the disappointing and scary parts about JAX streets: no parking lane or shoulder. Just curb and then sidewalk. The flat tires I've changed in Wisconsin tended to be easy, since there was always an extra lane. While roughly 20% of us on the road stopped to offer help, it was dangerous to do so.

Something else that was disappointing was the stock Hyundai jack. I actually ended up driving back home to get my 3-ton floor jack because three stock jacks (two from Hyundais) were fairly useless and unsafe. It took me about fifteen seconds to do what was taking us ten minutes with the other jack (that had also collapsed just before I was about to remove the wheel).

I am not suggesting all of you stop for others. Know yourself and assess the situation. I've made some borderline choices in my quest to help others. If you see a flat tire and have never changed one before, you might not be all that useful. And if you drive a Hyundai, think about getting a nice floor jack for the trunk.

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