Did you ever make a very bad decision and wonder later: "Why did I do that?"

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers

The steep and windy Newfound Gap Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National ParkOn Friday, I was at one of the high overlooks in the Great Smoky Mountains taking photos. After getting some shots, I returned to my parked car and I inserted the key into the ignition. When I turned the key, the card did not start and I heard the dreaded sound that no motorist ever wants to hear:

"Click."

Ok, that can mean a number of things: battery dead, alternator not charging, started gone, belt broken or any other one of a number of things. When I opened the hood of the car, many good Samaritans offered to help me get the car started.

They were very friendly and accommodating, and what I should have asked was: "Does anyone have any jumper cables to give us a boost?"

Instead, I did just about the stupidest thing that I have ever done. I asked them to push the car out of the parking spot, and that I would roll the car down the mountain until the torque converter in the automatic transmission was turning fast enough to turn the engine and start the car.

The helpful folks suggested that might be risky, but not wanting to put anyone out, I said that I was certain that the car would start. So they pushed me out of my parking place and I began to roll down the mountain.

Down the steep and winding road on the mountain!

However, the car did NOT start. And to make matters worse, my engine was NOT turning so I had no power steering and no power brakes. I knew right away that I was in trouble, because momentum was building and I had to push the breaks as hard as I could to retard the velocity of the vehicle!

After all attempts to start the engine failed, I had to look for a "landing strip." That would be a place long enough to stop the car using what available brakes I had plus the emergency brake.

I finally saw my opportunity, a long pull-off and so I made my move. It took all of the strength I had to stop the car with only 25 feet left to spare. But I did it and we were fine.

We just sat and waited until a park worker happened by to empty the trash can! I asked if he had jumper cables. He did, he helped us, and of course, refused any compensation. I shook his hand and thanked him for his kindness to strangers!

Turns out, it was just the battery after all. So off to Wal-Mart in Franklin North Carolina where I switched the battery in the parking lot and returned the old one for recycling. Ordeal over!

But I learned a valuable lesson. The first good Samaritans were ready and willing to help me get the car started. I should have accepted their kindness. Instead I decided to "go it alone" with nearly disastrous results.

The moral of the story: People are generally good, and it's okay to ask for help. That's part of living in a society!

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Topic:
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Rainmaker
506,695
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate

Oh for sure there have been "many times" I haven't asked for help and I should have.  There is nothing wrong is asking for help!  You be surprised how many helpful people there are around . "Ask and you shall receive.....rembmer that one!"

Thanks for sharing what happened with us all on AR today. 

Patricia/Seacoast NH

October 18, 2009 05:19 PM
Anonymous
Anonymous

You had me at "Click."

Very, very funny. I like to always push my self with low gas...it's a very scary thing to do in the mountains, as only so many exits offer gas! Great, funny post.

October 18, 2009 05:30 PM
Rainmaker
253,425
Robin Rogers
ABR, CRS - Real Estate Broker & Investment Adviser
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas

I had to laugh, Richard. I probably would have done the same thing, being the independent type that I am. I like to do things myself.

But people actually do like to help, and sometimes it's giving them a gift to let them.

I'm glad you found TWO good Samaritans to help you on that fateful day!

Cheers,

Robin

October 18, 2009 05:36 PM
Ambassador
1,028,638
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
RA, CRS, Hawaii Mililani Oahu Real Estate
Century 21 Liberty Homes

Darn...the regretable situations....then again...there was a learning lesson just for you!

October 18, 2009 05:37 PM
Rainer
146,715
Coleen DeGroff
Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL
eXp Realty

Holy crap, Richard!!!  I am SOOOOO glad you are okay!!!  It's amazing the lengths we will go to in our attempt to not put people out.  In those times, I try to remember how much I enjoy helping others.....and that when I turn down requests from others who offer help to me, I am in effect taking away a bit of their joy.

 

Again, I am SO. HAPPY. YOU'RE. OKAY. 

 

Sending blessings your way!

October 18, 2009 06:40 PM
Rainmaker
247,546
Jean Richer
No Gimmicks, No Nonsense, only Straight Talk
Keller Williams ~ Ottawa Realty Ltd

Hi Richard, gald it all worked out but it's good to realize when to accept help. I think that many of us would try to do it on our own but it's okay to as for help.

October 18, 2009 07:17 PM
Rainmaker
390,932
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville AL MLS
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)

Richard, You made me a nervous wreck reading this, lol.  The ole ticker was on edge the entire time.  I thought I was going to read that you jumped ship before the car went overboard, lol.  SO glad to hear you are alright.

Why do many of us have trouble accepting kindness from others...let this be a lesson to all of us :)

October 18, 2009 07:41 PM
Rainmaker
390,932
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville AL MLS
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)

Richard, You made me a nervous wreck reading this, lol.  The ole ticker was on edge the entire time.  I thought I was going to read that you jumped ship before the car went overboard, lol.  SO glad to hear you are alright.

Why do many of us have trouble accepting kindness from others...let this be a lesson to all of us :)

October 18, 2009 07:41 PM
Rainer
128,276
Renee Thompson
Premier Sotheby's International Realty

That became a very scary situation quickly! I recently had a similar situation, and I now have this self jump starter thing in the trunk now that I can hopefully jump myself if it ever happens again. Now I have to remember to keep that charged. :)

October 18, 2009 08:02 PM
Rainmaker
717,246
Debbie Walsh
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.928.8000
Keller Williams Realty

Richard-What a frightening thing!  Glad you are okay and things turned out fine.  How nice that you were helped by nice people.  Thanks for sharing the story.

October 18, 2009 08:14 PM
Ambassador
1,550,726
Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty

I'm glad to hear you're okay.  I didn't know you could start an automatic transmission that way.  We did that with my bug years ago by popping the clutch.

October 18, 2009 10:50 PM
Rainer
35,545
Beverly Fast Sinclair
Take That Listing

Glad you were OK. Felt since you were writing the post and I did not see it on the news I could laugh as you told the story...

October 18, 2009 11:08 PM
Rainmaker
64,764
Raine Carraway

Wow, that's scary. My father in law used to cut off the engine and "coast" on those same types of roads to save gas, used to scare me half to death when we rode with him anywhere. Glad you're OK!

October 19, 2009 12:38 AM
Anonymous
Anonymous

That is crazy, I am glad that everything worked out in the end. Sometimes it pays greatly to be humbled.

October 19, 2009 12:06 PM
Anonymous
Anonymous

That is crazy, I am glad that everything worked out in the end. Sometimes it pays greatly to be humbled.

October 19, 2009 12:07 PM
Rainmaker
260,985
Christianne Gordon
REALTOR e-PRO CDPE, SFR Carson Valley Real Estate Specialist
Carson Valley Homes and Land - RE/MAX Realty Affiliates

Richard - I have a story very similar to this where I broke a Tiffany cup to a punch bowl set my husband and I received as an engagement present. After I refused his help (for no particular reason other than to be obstinate) and I broke the cup, I hung my head in shame and went to the Tiffany site to try to buy a replacement. Luckily they had one and it didn't even cost an arm and a leg, but I learned my lesson.

I'm really glad you came out of this okay. I know the exact feeling you must have felt as you realized the power steering and brakers were 'out'. Holy moly!

October 19, 2009 01:37 PM
Rainer
5,503
Misty Causey
Misty Causey Real Estate

Richard...so glad you are okay, but I must say, that was a hilarious!!

October 19, 2009 02:43 PM
Rainer
40,631
France and Mark Clausen
Realty Austin

That definitely sounds like an aw shucks moment. I hope your wife wasn't with you. You'll never hear the end of it.

October 19, 2009 09:25 PM
Rainmaker
165,602
Robert Reid
OR & WA Real Estate
Premier Real Estate

Sometimes we have to accept help, our bright ideas might not always be the brightest.

October 20, 2009 11:31 AM
Rainmaker
83,632
Terri Visser
CRS - 12 Years Selling Central Oregon Real Estate
Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC

That is an absolutely horrifying story!!  Thankfully your guardian angel was with you that day :~)  Yikes!

October 20, 2009 02:29 PM
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Ambassador
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Richard Weisser

Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale
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