Friday, June 12, 2015

Thor Has a Potbelly and Missing Teeth

My wife has never been in a car that ran out of gas while driving. Until yesterday (6/12/15).

Rachelle's Type One on the Enneagram, so she's always prepared, organized, and in control.  I don't usually drive her X3 so what I thought was the fuel gage was actually the mileage to our next turn on Interstate-44. Fifty miles west of St. Louis on the busy and dangerous highway, the drive train lost power -- in the left lane -- and we barely had enough speed to pull to the razor thin right shoulder and park it. We were completely out of gas.

Of course, initially we didn't it know the problem was gas.  We thought the gas gauge was saying "50 miles" to go, and with the electronic console flashing "Drive Train Problem - contact your dealer" we had visions of tow trucks, expensive repairs and massive problems.

Cars and semis zipped by no more than five feet from us, and after multiple phone calls to tow truck companies repair shops who never answered their phone (it was 7:15 pm, after hours), I tried to start the car again - and again - and again. I finally said, "It sounds like we are out of gas." We Googled "Drive Train Problem for X3's" and found several people who had experienced the same error message on their console. Most of them eventually discovered they'd run out of gas.

So, with no help coming and loaded with this new Google information, I told Rachelle I was going to walk back the two miles to the last exit we and try to get some gas.

"I'm going with you. If you get hit by a car and die, I'm going to die with you." Type One's have limited optimism. At first I told Rachelle I thought it best for her to stay with the car, but then realized if someone stopped while I was gone, she could be worse off than dying with me. My optimism was much better.

So, with sandals on her feet, and I in shorts, a Field and Stream fishing shirt, and sneakers, Rachelle and I held hands and walked back east on the narrow shoulder against high speed traffic like soldiers moving toward Bataan. Half a mile from the X3, Rachelle almost stepped on a dead armadillo. The animal was flatter than a pancake - a very thin pancake - and Rachelle screamed as she almost stepped on it and exclaimed she didn't know a armadillo could get so flat.  We continued our walk through the valley of the shadow of death. At some point I felt it safe to cross four lanes of high speed traffic and begin walking with westbound traffic.

I later discovered that Rachelle had prayed when we crossed the Interstate that God would send an angel to rescue us. Like usual, her prayers were answered in a striking manner.  God sent an angel not more than thirty seconds after we crossed highway.

His name was Thor.

He was driving an ancient pick-up. He passed us, pulled over a quarter a mile ahead, and then proceeded to back up to where we were walking. Rachelle muttered, "Oh my word." Due to the look of the pick-up and the erratic manner in which it was backing, Rachelle was thinking, "This is it. We are going to be kidnapped, robbed, beaten and left for dead."

But when we reached the truck, the passenger side window was already down and the driver asked, "Need some help?" I told him I thought we might be out of gas and were walking to the nearest gas station. He said, "Get in. I live in the next town and I'll help you out."

With our prospects limited, I opened the door and saw just two small bucket-seats in the pick-up. Cigarettes, beer cans, and litter filled the passenger floor board. I crawled into the passenger seat, and Rachelle sat in my lap, having to crane her neck, bending down her head to avoid hitting the inside roof.

"My name is Thor," the driver said.

I introduced myself and Rachelle. "Thor?" I said, "I don't think I've ever met a Thor except in the movies." He grinned and said, "I like my name because not many people have it."

I found out Thor was a mechanic in the town we'd just passed, and he really was wanting to help us. He told us that he had been out of work because of seizures. I felt my wife jump at the word seizure and her inner nurse took over.

"When's the last time you had a seizure Thor?" It was a while back, but he assured us he could tell when it was coming on.

"Do you take medication for the seizures Thor?" Nope, medication was too costly and really did no good came the response.

"Have they told you not to drive Thor?" With this question I began to have a creeping desire for my brilliant nurse doctor to stop asking questions about Thor's seizures. There was nothing I could do if Thor lost his chariot. It was a stick shift and with my wife on top of me, if Thor were to begin shaking like a bobble-head, we'd all go down in flames together.  I would rather die ignorant than with my eyes wide open.

However, my wife persisted, and after the few minutes it took to get to Thor's garage, obtain a five-gallon gas can, fill it up with gas,  and then arrive back at our X3 on the side of the highway, I knew more about Thor's medical condition than his own mother.

But we made it.

Thor poured the gas in our stalled car, and within 30 seconds I had it started. We followed him east bound to the next gas station, and after filling up Thor's truck and gas can, giving him some money for his remarkable kindness, and then telling him a little about our ministry to people, we shook hands with our new friend and parted company.

One hour after the power train in the wife's X3 failed due to insufficient gas, we were again heading east toward St. Louis and our ultimate destination of Columbus, Ohio.

God sent us an angel.

He could have been named Charlie, Sam, Billy Bob, or any other name, but this angel was named Thor. And to top it all off, Thor had a pot-belly and missing teeth.

Though it's only day one of our  working sabbatical,  Rachelle and I learned a lesson we will not soon forget.

God's best gifts are sometimes wrapped in unusual paper.


Pege' said...

:D.....and angel in a truck names THOR....must be The arc angel Michael's cousin from the south. Glad you are safe and back on your journey again.

Rex Ray said...

Wade, you’re story kept me smiling.
New cars and their gadgets can get people in trouble more ways than one.

In Phoenix, AZ I was arguing with my brother-in-law in his new car that we were going West. (We were looking for my brother and knew we had to go West.) I asked him to stop and ask, but no; he was going to prove me wrong when we ran out of town.

After several miles he stopped and asked. I was wrong and he turned around.

“See; now my car’s compass is reading West.”
I didn’t stop till he was pleading.
Next day I apologized because I had a compass on my cell phone.

I’ve only been asked once if I was an angle. The man was serious.
I was building a house in Fate, Texas. At noon, I was driving and noticed about 10 Mexicans not doing anything where a house was being built.

All that was there was the slab and some looking at a blueprint. I stopped and asked if they needed any help. They didn’t know anything about blueprints. Before sundown all the walls were up and I left after declining money. That’s when the man asked me.

Bob Cleveland said...

God has millions and millions of people He can use in our lives, whenever we decide to let Him. Too often we think, though, that we can "grade" his unknown angels, and pick & choose which ones we allow in.

Unless we're out of gas and Thor drops in.

Christiane said...

a classic example of how God give grace to the humble . . . of all the people on the road, this simple broken person displayed the most grace to you in your need

I suppose Samaritans come in all sizes and shapes, with all manner of flaws and strange ways, but let them come, Lord, let them come and serve when no one else has the time or heart or grace to help someone in need

lovely story, WADE . . . it's one of those 'Kingdom of God' stories, you know, and it's filled with mystery and it is humbling to read

I needed something like this today, and I am grateful. :)

Ramesh said...

"I'm going with you. If you get hit by a car and die, I'm going to die with you."

This is very romantic. I mean it sincerely. Thanks for the post.

Victorious said...

Oh my! It's almost 10 pm and I was so tired but before turning off my computer decided to read this post with the weird title. I had overlooked it because I thought it might be about one of those new movies like "Frozen" that I had no interest in.

But now I'll be up for at least another half hour or maybe more because I can't stop laughing....and I mean out-loud laughing! Normally it wouldn't be nice to laugh at someone else's misfortune, but it's your fault, Wade, for telling it in a stand-up comic fashion that deserves a hearty laughter rather than sympathy.

Thanks for using one of your many gifts to share this experience and tell Rachelle I got a big laugh picturing her on your laugh with her head cranked forward to avoid hitting the roof as well as her remark about the dead armadillo!

After I was able to calm down after my late-night fun, all I could think of was why don't you belong to AAA? You might consider it because they would have been out in a flash and you wouldn't have no worry about being kidnapped.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your story and I'm glad God sent Thor and everything worked out ok for you both!

Wade Burleson said...


Your AAA suggestion is A+A+A+

Rachelle asked me the same question - and so did our son.

Phone call to join being made this week! Thanks for the kind words, too!