Catchy headline, huh? Well, it's a true statement. I had an appointment to show a home yesterday morning, and didn't make it. The home where I was scheduled to meet my prospect is in a gated community, and the prospects were at the gate to meet me at our scheduled time- but I wasn't there.
Where was I? I was stranded on the side of the 408 toll road here in Orlando (Eastbound, left shoulder and just past the Semoran toll plaza heading towards the airport for you locals!). I was heading to my appointment and cruising along just fine, when it hit- "Boom!" Or was it "Pow!"? Or "Pop!"? At any rate, it was a pretty loud noise and my steering wheel did precious little good afterwards.
I knew I needed to get off the road, though, and hit the brakes and looked to steer off of it the best I could. Hitting the brakes when you have a blow-out probably isn't the way my Driver's Ed teacher told us to handle such things back in '84- but she wasn't with me yesterday and given the circumstances I really didn't have time to track her down and ask her how I was supposed to proceed!
I got my mom-mobile (a Dodge Grand Caravan I got a couple of years ago as my single-guy-self needed another vehicle with enough room to transport my fiancée's daughter's volleyball team) off the road and exited to survey the damage- fully anticipating I'd find a mangled mess of things akin to when the 18-wheelers have blown tires flapping in the breeze before they sling the "gators" (or re-caps) in the middle of the road. But not so.
My tire had a hole the size of a baseball blown out of it, to be sure- but almost too neat. The 1st blow-out of my life just didn't look that impressive. Surprisingly, panic didn't really set in. Annoyance? Check. Irritation? Check. "How much is this dang thing gonna cost me, and how is my marginally-prepared, non-automotive self gonna get this thing fixed?" feeling? Check. And another feeling I'll get to below.
I knew that dinky little spare tire was inconveniently-located under the mom-mobile, between the front seats. Removing a cap, though, I saw that I needed a large socket wrench to wind the tire down and release it. Thinking I was pretty danged proud of myself for having my trusty old Lowe's 40-piece if-I-ever-get-stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road socket set with me, I opened that bad boy up and found that I didn't have a big enough socket. More irritation sets in.
Here in the Orlando area, we're blessed with these folks called Road Rangers, though. They roam the highways and byways of the area and serve folks stranded like me- as well as those that run out of gas or have other minor hiccups in their day. I've always though they were a good thing- as they keep roads somewhat free and keep panicky drivers from being stuck in the right-of-way during rush hours. I think they're a great thing now, as a call to the Florida Highway Patrol's hotline (*FHP) had one dispatched to me in no time. The guy (Shawn) arrived, was professional and polite- and didn't even make fun of me and my little sockets! He had me on my way and I was much obliged.
I am so glad that that none of my loved ones were with me- but I was by no means alone. I'm glad that the good Lord above was with me and watching over me as always- though I never deserve it- and glad He gave me the calm and presence of mind to keep control of the mom-mobile and get it safely to the shoulder of the road. I'm also very thankful for the Road Rangers.
And that prospect? Well, I did my best to stay in touch with her and did get word to her that I would miss our appointment. When I last spoke with her, she was on her way to view another place with another broker. She very well may have found her dream home with them- and that's just fine today.