I’ve had an epiphany, and it is called the Metro Freeway Service Patrol.
I was on my cell phone in the passenger seat while my husband drove us, in rush hour traffic, along the eastbound 210 freeway toward our church and the tutoring session we do every Monday. But it so happened we weren’t going to make it – the passenger-side front tire went flat and we had to make our way from the left lane to the shoulder of the freeway about a quarter of a mile short of the Santa Anita exit.
You would think in rush hour traffic, it would be OK to be stopped on the side of the freeway – but no. Night had already fallen, traffic was stop-and-go, and we kept hearing the big rig trucks trying to stop on a dime. My membership with AAA had expired a long time ago, and for some reason, the long handle for the jack was missing. My husband contemplated the situation on the side of the freeway behind the car, while I sat in the passenger seat – belted in – thinking of every horrific story I’d read of how people in disabled cars had been killed or horribly dismembered because some drunk driver or confused person or whatever had rammed into the rear of the car in the dark.
So Trinity made the decision to get us off the freeway and we made our way, slowly and rocking with each turn of the flat tire, toward the exit. And then, all of a sudden, there were tow truck lights behind us. Trinity wondered who that was behind us, and I said, “dude, it’s just a good thing he’s there.”
The truck followed us down the exit, helped us make our agonizingly slow right turn by blocking oncoming traffic, and then stopped behind us to help us out. Turns out it was Manuel Davila, one of the Metro Freeway Service Patrol‘s truck drivers who saw us, gave us some protection from oncoming traffic and escorted us off the freeway. I hadn’t even remembered that motorists could now call #399 to get free roadside assistance, but I was so grateful that he had seen us.
Manuel had our donut on our car within 15 minutes and handed us some paraphernalia – the little flyer for #399, a a feedback questionnaire, and a pamphlet for the Metro Freeway Service Patrol. Turns out the patrol changes flat tires, jump-starts cars, refills radiators, tapes leaky water hoses, gives you a gallon of gas (!) if your tank is empty and tows your car for FREE if their driver can’t get your car working.
And why do they do it? They do it to help reduce traffic by clearing stalled cars, reducing the chance of further accidents and bottlenecks and to save fuel that’s wasted by stop-and-go traffic.
These are our tax dollars working for you. Use it!