Okay, I am not religious, but a couple of days ago I had an experience which could have easily turned me to God.
I know I live in a bubble, most of us do. We hang out with people we like, who think like we do, because otherwise we would not be able to spend more than 1 hour in 1 room. But at the same time, I try to get a feeling what people are doing outside of my sphere. Oftentimes, it helps to keep me grounded and make me less pedantic. And sometimes I realize people I thought were a thing of the past, are actually still alive and well.
Basically, I live in a rural area and do a bit of circus both in my parents’ backyard as well as in another rural area right across the border in Belgium. So I drive there by car and last time my mom asked me to fill the tank on the way back. I am not a very experienced driver, but I can generally handle the car. Not that much this time.
I missed the first 2 tank stations on the way back, so decided to stop at the next one (third time’s the charm). Even though the previous 2 tank stations were in urban areas, something that is important to remember in my final choice.
So the tank station I did stop at was near a highway, unmanned, with no houses nearby. I parked the car, only to discover that the tank cap was on the other side. With the tank cap on the right side, I remembered I just had to push a button to open it. I pushed a button, got out to check the tank cap, it was still closed. Repeat about 3 times, before I realized I had opened the engine lid.
Having finally opened the tank cap, I filled it up with sweet fuel. Once it was done and all paid for, I got in, put the key in and wanted to turn it. I could not. I tried 10 more times, each time more desperate than the previous one. It did not budge. I got out, checked the engine lid and the tank cap, everything was as it should be. I was highly confused and at the verge of bursting out into tears.
Looking around, the closest house was approximately 20 minutes walking. There was a cafe-looking building, but it was obviously closed. I checked my phone, no credit anymore, so no possibility to either call or access the all-knowing internet.
I got out, walked around the building and discovered it actually housed some people. There was a small terrase with a fence, behind that I could see a sort of dining room with an open slide door and an older couple inside. It was already a bit late, around 22.00, but I still approached them, desperate for some help. I mumbled softly something like “Could you please help me…” while trying to leave the most unscary impression possible. Apparently it did not work.
The first thing the man did, was cross his arms in front of him. I saw the woman nodding her head. I thought I maybe did not see it very clearly, so I lingered, scratched my head and tried to look as innocent as possible. It had the opposite effect. In the end, the man stood up and closed the door. I stumbled back to the tank station to see if anyone had turned up. Nobody was there.
In a last act of desperation, I still went back to the house side of the building and tried to look as pleading as possible in the dark. I saw with my very own eyes, the man and then the woman slowly get up and walk out of the room.
I do not know how exactly I would act if someone randomly showed up at my door for help. I am not a saint or anything, I often decline to give people money if I feel it is not going to something worthwhile. At the same time, it baffled me that these people existed. That you can be so dedicated to not wanting to help or be involved in anything unknown.
In the end, I was luckily saved by 2 very friendly Belgians, who were also amazed at the fact that I still remembered 2 phone numbers by heart, and I was able to return home without much of a problem afterwards.
Home sweet home.