Today, on our way to the car repair shop, our car stalled and stopped on Lake Shore Drive. If you are unfamiliar with Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, it isn't a casual side street by the lake. Lake Shore Drive is a busy highway with 3 to 4 lanes in each direction.
Needless to say, we were in a bad situation because our car was blocking one of the three lanes of traffic. But, the situation allowed me to see how willing people were to help our situation. The woman who was driving behind us stopped and offered her assistance. She gave us the number of her uncle's towing company, but unfortunately, the tow truck couldn't get there for an hour. On hearing this, she called 911 to get us off of the highway, at least. The dispatcher coordinated with city services to send a truck to "get us off of the road."
After she realized that we would be safe, she left. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived to help avert any collisions with our car as we waited for the city services truck to show up. They were less helpful, asking questions like "Do you have gas in it?" after I clearly told them that the battery light was on before it stalled.
Then, the city services tow truck arrived, and hooked our car up to the truck. Usually, city services is only called in to clear the lane of traffic. That is, once they moved our car to a parking lot, we would normally have been on our own to arrange to get our vehicle to the repair shop. But, because the guy noticed that we were from Montana (by our Montana license plates), he was especially helpful in assisting us to find a repair shop.
He made several calls, and he looked up the locations of various repair shops in our Chicago phone book. Eventually, he found a place that could get us in right away and fix our car problems. Without his assistance, we would have ended up at a lot worse repair shop, and we would have had to pay much more.
That whole experience got me wondering. Would he have been so helpful if our license plate said Illinois? Was he helping two young kids from Montana because it was the right thing to do? That brings me to my poll question of the week:
Why help a stranded couple from Montana on the road?
(a) It is the right thing to do.
(b) It makes me feel bad to do otherwise.
(c) They might pay me for my help.
(d) I didn't help. I honked! They were blocking a lane!
Vote early and often, and tell your friends to vote. If you have friends in the towing business, tell them to vote as well as your alderman. The poll is open for a week. I am interested in hearing what you have to say.