Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous – MN nice, MN ditch

With all the death and destruction that floods our news sources almost daily, sometimes we need to renew our faith in humanity.
Especially around the holidays, you start to hear about random acts of kindness. The anonymous person who drops wads of $100 bills into Salvation Army red kettles. The patron who purchases a Caribou gift card, only to hand it to the employee, treating the next few customers in line to free coffee. Or for me, the two complete strangers who stopped to help dig out my car when I spun out in late December.
The morning of Dec. 28 started just like any other Friday. After four hits on the snooze button, I woke up to a text from my father warning me of the slick roads after the previous night’s snowfall.
“Very slippery roads with spin outs everywhere. Drive safe,” the text said.
I live in Minneapolis, so the drive to Waconia can take anywhere from 45 minutes on a good day to an hour and 45 in the snow. Interstate 394 was wet, but not bad. Most of Highway 7 through Minnetonka and Excelsior wasn’t too crummy either. The snow on the roads started to get heavier as I neared St. Boni, just as the roads begin to curve more, too.
Suddenly the van in front of me got too close to the car in front of it, and slammed on the brakes. I saw the van’s back wheels slide a little, so I gently tapped my brakes. No sliding.
I blame my poor depth perception for pushing the brakes harder as I neared the back of the van. The back end of my Grand Prix started to fishtail, and knowing I couldn’t spin into the eastbound traffic, I turned sharply to the right. My back end swung around 180 degrees, and I stopped with my nose pointed up the hill I had just descended. With my back tires in someone’s driveway, the front two-thirds of my vehicle were stuck in the snowy shoulder. A glance to my left revealed five feet of snowy lawn separating me from the deep ditch that surely would have rolled my car. As I sat there and wondered what to do, I remembered telling my dad I didn’t need a shovel in my car. As dads do, he had ignored me and bought me a shovel anyways. Little did he know I’d need it just a few days later.
Not one to be the damsel in distress, I “manned up” and started to shovel the packed snow out from under my car (with my new shovel, of course), in hopes of just backing up into the driveway and being on my way. As I worked, and thanking the stars I wore boots that day, two different motorists stopped. While one looked for a solid place to attach a tow strap, the other took over shoveling duties, leaving me nothing to do but stand alongside the road and marvel at their good-heartedness.
In just a few minutes, my car was free of snow and I was backed into the driveway. With heartfelt thanks, I was on my way, as were the two men who stopped to help.
In what could have been my death that sunny Friday morning, or at least a much worse situation, I’ve been reminded of just how Minnesota-nice people can be.
So, to the two strangers who knew neither me nor each other, but still stopped to help, thank you. From the one who got down on his knees to shovel underneath my car, to the other who knelt on a little girl’s winter jacket to find a place to attach a tow strap, you will never know how much it meant that you stopped. You didn’t judge, but simply helped. You even laughed good-naturedly when I opened my trunk to look for a tow strap – which I knew I didn’t have – only to reveal a trunk full of shoes. I can’t thank you both enough for stopping to help a twenty-something girl, stranded on the side of the road.
And to the owner of the property I landed on, my apologies for running down your metal driveway marker. When my car was scraping against it, I wondered why the plastic markers wouldn’t do. In retrospect, good call on the metal ones, because it probably stopped me from rolling into that montrosity of a ditch.