In a moment of peril, is help near?

The Examiner

During February of 2008, I took a trip to Idaho to visit my children and grandchildren. I checked on the road conditions and felt it was good to go.

I had a fairly new car, which supposedly got good gas mileage. It had been an extremely cold winter in the Midwest, the coldest I had seen in awhile.

Diane Mack

As I was cruising across Wyoming, climbing Elk Mountain, my car started to choke. Before I knew it, I lost speed.

I looked at the gas tank. The fuel gage read empty.

I was shocked because I should have had another 30 miles in the gas tank.

However, I had been speeding, while climbing a mountain range, with extremely high winds.

At the same time as my “fuel” panic, I noticed my cell phone had no coverage. I immediately pulled over to the shoulder.

And, suddenly, my car died.

I said a prayer and waited a few minutes. I only needed one mile of gas to get to the next rest stop.

I started the car again and put the pedal to the floor. Luckily, I coasted into the rest stop. It was dusk and there were only two truckers parked at the stop.

There I was, all alone, a woman with an empty gas tank, no cell phone coverage, and two truckers, who appeared to be watching everything I did.

I offered another prayer, pleading for a female driver, or a couple, who needed the facilities.

As the sun escaped behind the horizon, the sky grew darker. I continued my prayers.

Within a few minutes, I noticed a tractor-trailer driving toward my vehicle.

As soon as the driver parked, a man and a woman exited the cab. They looked friendly.

I quickly ran toward them and solicited their assistance. I met with a welcoming smile.

When I shared my dilemma, and my ignorance of speed, wind and mountain ascent, they asked how they could help. My new friends offered to transport me to the nearest town, and help me find a gas station. I was ecstatic.

I climbed into the truck cab. I had never been inside a truck. And I was a bit surprised at what I found.

I had climbed into a warm and cozy mini home. They had a cute Valentine hanging inside the cab with lots of decorations. Valentine’s Day had been a week earlier.

They seemed anxious to share their on-the-road story.

Here were two retirees, who used trucking to earn a little extra cash, while traveling to visit their long-distance children.

The cab was charming. They had a microwave, mini fridge, dresser, TV, and photos everywhere.

While riding to the nearest town, 12 miles away, I listened to their family stories and travel fun. This couple enjoyed each other and life on the road.

Driving a large truck into a small town was not easy. Plus, it was windy, cold, and dark outside.

The driver, Mr. Trucker, pulled off into a vacant lot. As he jumped out of the cab, he suggested his wife and I visit, while he purchased, and filled, a gas can.

For the 15 minutes it took Mr. Trucker to walk to the station and back, I listened to Mrs. Trucker share her happiness about traveling with the mister and their love for each other, and their family.

Well, we did make it back to my car, which was not an easy task, parking an 18 wheeler, next to a freeway exit.

Mr. and Mrs. Trucker accompanied me to my vehicle and then followed me back to the gas station.

As I waved goodbye to my friends, I could see their Valentine waving back at me.

These were two Valentine Sweethearts I would never forget.

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at