In early August, I was preparing the kids and I to drive to my parents home in Indiana for a week when my check engine light came on in our car. We were leaving in two days so I needed to get it checked out ASAP. I called my friend and neighbor, Jami, to see if they had a good place they could recommend for the car. At the local BP, I met Everett: a nice warm hearted man in his 60's. He seemed to be the one in charge of the shop and got me going with one of his employees, Jim. The little store was busy with activity and Everett seemed to know everyone that stopped in. It made me feel more confident in the quality of the shop to see so many long time friends and repeat customers coming and going. I sat next to a moving fan in the unairconditioned 100 degree store. I didn't mind though, I was sweating it out the same as the person next to me. Jim came out and gave me a detailed list of the things that needed to be fixed with the car and the expenses. I called Byron and we decided to go ahead with the needed repairs. I had been sitting there for a while, and knew I needed to get back to my friend who was watching my kids, so I asked Everett if he could check to see how much longer the car would be. I explained that I lived very close and it was no problem for my neighbor to come pick me up and that I could come back and get the car later. That's when Everett had his great idea (that's what he said at least, "Come with me, I have a great idea!") I followed Everett to a shed in the back where he pulled out a huge old red bike with a basket attached in the back. He told me happily that I could just ride the bike home and then ride it on back when the car was ready for pick-up. I figured I had riden a bike all over the streets of Tokyo, why not down the street to my home in Mebane, NC? So I hopped on the bike, waved goodbye to everyone and started on my way home.
The road that I needed to turn on out of the gas station was a busy one. As I went to pull the brakes on the handle bar, I realized there were no brakes! I held my breath and turned onto the road and prayed no one would hit me. I rode home with my purse slung over my shoulder, flip flops on my feet, signaling with my arms that I was merging into the next lane and turning. Hilarious. When I got to Jami's house, I brought her outside and showed her the bike. She was shocked and asked why I hadn't called her?!? I laughed and told her because Everett has said he had a great idea! We cracked up and Jami took a spin on the bike around the neighborhood while the kids and I cheered her on.
When Byron got home that night from work, it was time to go pick the car up, but there was no way that big bike was fitting in our car. I said I was happy to ride the bike back up, but there was one problem, a huge, gigantic thunderstorm was rolling in. I said I was going for it and pedaled as fast as I could up the hill back to the BP gas station. I wondered what people thought of me as I rode this big old bike in the blustering wind, on a major road with a thunderstorm at my heels. Pretty crazy I bet. I made it before the storm hit and tried to discreetly wipe the huge drops of persperation off my face as I paid for the car. Everett was so pleased that I had ridden the bike. He said he offers it to custmers all the time but no one ever takes him up on it. Imagine! I think I've made a life long friend in Everett and it's so nice to know I don't need to arrange for a ride when I take our car in to get fixed.