Friday, September 5, 2014

A "duh..." story, and a thought provoking experience

I haven't written these stories on the blog before because I was embarrassed I could be so dense in the first story, and the second story has been floating in my mind every day since it happened.

One day as I was driving along a narrow highway in the Yukon I saw a lost dog. It looked like a sort of sled dog and they are valuable to their owners, so I pulled over, rolled down my window, and called "here puppy come here". The dog kept going and started to wander into the road. I called again but no response. I got out of the RV and walked slowly toward the dog, calling to it, and holding out my hand. This went on for maybe a minute, while the dog stared at me, but then started to walk away. I called again, louder this time, inviting the animal into the RV, and the dog very slowly turned to look at me, yellow eyes narrowing to slits, and a very strange look on it's face. That's when I realized this was no dog - it was a wolf. Silly me! And here I am, inviting him/her to share space with Koka. DUH.....! I wish I had gotten a photo instead.

An encounter with a really nice couple has had me thinking about it ever since. In early August, after leaving a camp in Beavercreek, Yukon, I pulled into a rest stop to let Koka run for a few minutes. I had just driven over a long stretch of terrible road and we both needed a break. When I returned to the RV my remote button would not open the door, so I opened it the old fashioned way with the key. Something was wrong, and I could not turn the key in the ignition, and there was not a sound, like a dead battery start attempt would make. I was upset, since I was miles away from anywhere, with no cell service, and very little traffic. I went up to the highway to see if there might be someone coming along, but no one. Finally a couple in a truck stopped, and tried to help. Then another RV pulled into the rest stop and tried to help. We could not figure out what in the world had happened. Everything was totally dead. The couple in the truck offered to drive to the next town to send a tow truck - alas the next town was about 60 miles away over more terrible roads. After they left I decided to read the manual, and saw mention of the battery disconnect switch. I had used this switch before when the RV was parked and not driven for a month. I checked the switch, which is really a cable that can easily be disconnected, reconnected it, and that fixed the problem. Apparently the rough bumpy roads had jarred the cable loose. Gotta love Alaskan roads! Meanwhile, the couple in the truck were driving to the next town to send a tow truck. As I drove I watched for the tow truck, thinking I could stop him before he went too far. At one point I thought he passed me so I pulled over, thinking he may have seen me - not many of my type vehicle driving this road. He didn't stop. Now I'm thinking I need to find the service station he came from so I can pay them. The poor guy made a 120 mile round trip on rotten roads, just to find that the troubled vehicle had disappeared. Finally, I found the station, which had a coffee shop attached. I went in to pay for fuel and ask about the tow truck, but then saw the couple eating lunch. They had paid the tow driver $ 100.00, and they refused to let me pay them back. Refused! After some discussion, during which I grabbed their lunch tab - the least I could do - they told me to pay it forward, and help someone else in need. And off they went. They were so cute - Mary Katherine is a school secretary in a 40 pupil school in their home town of Queen Charlotte, on Graham Island, British Columbia, and Richard owns a gravel/construction company on the island. "Pay it forward and help someone else" they said. Driving along after a few hours I came across a stranded RV, a huge stranded RV, that was out of brake fluid. Aha! I said to my self. Someone in trouble! After the driver explained his predicament i drove off, in search of brake fluid. The next town was Fort Nelson, a hundred miles away. When I stopped to ask if I could pay someone to take brake fluid to the stranded RV, they only laughed at me, and said that a road crew working in the area could help them. Remember - still no cell phone service, and no one had a satellite phone. I drove on, thinking about "paying it forward" and how I could do that. I later stopped in a little town for fuel and it was pouring rain. Most places in the Yukon let you pump your diesel and then go inside to pay. A young man came running out saying he would help me because it was raining so hard. I overheard him talking to his buddy about wanting to give his little brother some sort of scooter for his birthday but he had to save his earnings for college. Aha! Pay it forward I thought! So I told him the story and said I would give him $50.00 but he could not spend it on himself. As I told the story I started to cry, and he was almost crying too. He said he would buy the scooter for his brother and a gift for his mother. He kept saying "Whoa I don't believe this" over and over again. As I drove away I looked in my side mirror and he was still standing there, waving. But wait! 35 dollars for the couple's lunch, and 50 for the gas station kid - I still had to give away 15 dollars! Needless to say, the next day a friendly waitress received a big tip. I will never forget the nice couple, Mary Katherine and Richard, and I won't forget the look on the gas station kid's face when I told him the story. If we all followed the example of Mary Katherine and Richard once in a while, what a lovely thing that would be.

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