They Needed Help

By O’Ceallaigh –

We turned the corner onto Poucher Road and encountered a couple in a stalled car. He was in front of the car, standing in the rain, waving his arms for us to stop.

It’s not our habit to stop for these situations but Kathy was driving and pulled over in front of his car. “Should we help them?” she asked as the car came to a stop.

“Well, “I thought, “now is a good time to ask!!

She rolled the driver’s window down.

“I’m Matt, that’s my wife Stephanie, our car has stalled, I just got out of the hospital, I got snake-bit and I got a fishhook in the same arm and got infected and spent four days in the hospital, they gave me prescriptions and we don’t have triple A or anything and we’re waiting for our daughter to transfer some money to us, Walmart to Walmart…”

“Breathe, Matt! Breathe!” I thought to myself!

“Do you have jumper-cables?” I asked.

“No.” Matt answered in a very short sentence.

“OK,” Kathy said, “we have a neighbor who has some and we only live a mile away. We’ll go get them and be right back.”

We hustled to get the cables from our neighbor, Ray, and returned to the stricken car. Matt had the hood up and told us that he had discovered a battery cable end that had a loose wire. Another lady had stopped and loaned him a pair of pliers.

The clamp on the wire was still loose.

We jumped the battery and the car started. We suggested that they follow us home and use my tools to secure the cable-end properly.

Matt said, “You’ll do that for us!?”

“Well, sure, why not? I mean, are you Ax murderers or something,” I thought. We left with Matt and Stephanie following.

We were successful in tightening the cable and said our goodbyes with much thanks. They left.

Three minutes later they were back!

Matt jumped out of the car and told us that it had started coughing and bucking and they turned around to get another jump.

I’m thinking, “Matt, you need more than a jump!! You’ve got something more serious here!”

We jumped his battery again and it immediately started.

That car had an Ammeter on the dashboard rather than an “Idiot light” so we looked at the meter. It was pegged. I said to myself, “This is an alternator problem!” But, what do I know I’m no mechanic!

Matt said, “I think I need a battery!”

Maybe it’s the alternator, Matt,” I said.

“No, it’s an old battery, it’s probably grounded out.”

Kathy took them to Walmart for a test on the battery. Walmart wanted to sell a battery. Sure enough, the battery tested bad! But, by the time the test was done the automotive section was closed and they couldn’t buy a battery.

“Come on home and stay with us for the night,” Kathy told them.

They did.

There was much conversation in which we learned about Matt and Stephanie’s family and business, education and background. It was an interesting time.

Then we went to bed. All slept well.

The next morning we were having breakfast and Matt said, “You know, I think maybe it could be the alternator!”

I had brought Johnny, another neighbor, over the night before for an opinion. He’s a former mechanic. He suggested it was an alternator problem.

I thought it may be an alternator problem.

Now, this morning, Matt agrees.

We have a consensus!

Stephanie began making calls and found a used alternator at a salvage yard. Kathy loaded them into our car and drove them to the junk yard.

They had two alternators. One was the most popular one that was “probably the one” that would fit. They brought it back.

Under the hood
Matt and I tackled the removal of the old one and had grease up to our elbows. We had a terrible time figuring out how to relieve the tensioner pully for the serpentine belt.

I had been lying across the front of the car working for some time. Finally tiring from the bending, I straightened up. Matt looked and saw a diagram where I had been lying telling us exactly what to do with the tensioner!! Go figure!

Good Grief!! The old one was finally off. We compared it with the new one.

Wrong mounting bracket! Wrong electrical post!

The most popular one was not the one that would fit Matt’s car.

Back to the Yard! This time, our neighbor Ray, the Jumper-Cable guy, drove me and Matt the thirty miles round trip to exchange the alternator.

Back home we installed the new alternator. We checked the meter. Fourteen amps! Success! Grease up to our elbows!!

Matt and I washed up and Matt and Stephanie were ready to leave. Goodbyes were said, thank-yous were expressed and they left. It had been an exciting 24 hours!Goodbye


Our daughter Laura called and told us that George, her fiancé, asked if she had heard from us. He thought maybe she should check on us not knowing these folks. They might be Ax Murderers or something!! She chuckled!!

No, they were not. They were very pleasant people and we were glad to be able to help.

They were on their way to Baltimore to attend the Preakness Thoroughbred race and then visit family and friends. They had a stop to make in Kissimmee before continuing on. While there, they received a call telling them that Stephanie’s grandmother had passed away. She had just let us know via e-mail.

I believe that Matt and Stephanie were supposed to be delayed to keep them a little closer to their home for this time of their bereavement.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)

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