Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Hole

Remember this post here...well, I am finally over it and able to tell you all what happened! It only took me 6 months!

Ok, not really, I just needed photographic evidence to fully explain the situation.

Let me set the scene....

It was a Thursday night in March here in Belgium. It was very dark outside, pouring down rain, and freezing cold. I had plans after work. I asked Pam to watch Maxie for me so I would not have to rush home after work, let Maxie out, then rush back out. After my plans I was on my way to Pam's to pick up Maxie.

I took the interstate but soon realized it was a huge mistake as cars were backed up for miles and I had not moved in over an hour. I decided to get off the interstate and take some side streets. I had my GPS with me, so I knew it would navigate me around. Therefore, I got off on a familiar street. As I was driving, I missed my turn so I decided to go up a little and make a U-turn. Since it was pitch-black dark and pouring down rain, I did not realize I had made the U-turn in the BUS LANE. As I was driving, I could barely see...then all of a sudden, I noticed a HUGE hole and slammed on my brakes, but it was too late.

I was in the hole and I hit it hard, really hard. I felt like my car was completely destroyed. A guy ran over to my car and asked if I was ok. I was. My Belgian cell phone was dead (figures), so I asked the guy if I could use his phone to call the emergency assistance people. He was so kind and talked to the guy in French and told him what happened. A 'rescue' truck was dispatched!

That guy had to leave, so off he went as I sat there wondering how the heck I was going to explain this one to the leasing company! Then, here comes a bus (as I was in the bus lane, remember!). See, the bus lane is a separate lane for buses only, separated by a curb, so I could not get out of the bus lane even if I was not stuck in this hole.

The bus driver gets off the bus and comes to see what I am doing just sitting there (in the hole). He spoke no English but, using my universal language of gesturing, he got the point that the car was not moving. He said, "Car ka-put?". I said, "Oui (Yes), car ka-put!". The bus driver decided to jump the curb and leave me in the hole!

Then, a few minutes later, another bus comes. I tell that driver the same thing, but he was not having any part of it. He spoke English and told me I needed to get this car out of the bus lane before the police arrived or I would get a huge fine. I told him that I could not move it and was waiting on the emergency assistance people to show up to tow my car. Then, 2 very nice guys get off the bus and decide to help me get the car out of the hole, and thus, out of the bus lane. I handed them the keys and said, "Go for it! If you can get this car out of the hole, be my guest!".

Let me remind you, it was pitch-black dark, pouring down rain and freezing cold.

They were able to get the car out of the hole and out of the bus lane! A miracle, I tell you!

Then, one of the very nice guys tells me the only damage he can see was to my right front tire and rim. He said all I needed to do was change the tire. Ha!! Yeah, right, me change a tire!?? That is just funny thinking about it!

This guy was so nice and offered to change it for me (in the dark, freezing rain!)!! And, he did. It wasn’t until he got the tire changed that the emergency assistance guy showed up (right on time!). The guy who changed my tire refused to let me pay him (I begged him to take the money) but asked if I would just take him home (he got off his bus to help me!). There was no way I could tell this guy no, even though I did feel weird about letting a total stranger (although a guardian angel) in my car. When the emergency assistance guy showed up, I asked him to drive my car around the block to make sure it was ok to drive...and also asked him if we could take this guy home (he lived really close). We did and I survived another adventure in Belgium!

So you may be wondering...where did the hole come from?? You see, Belgium puts huge holes in the bus lanes to keep people like me out of them. I think they are just out there to kill foreigners in their precious country. Buses can straddle these 'death holes' but little Fiestas, obviously, cannot!

May I present to you...My Hole!

4 comments:

  1. Holy Crap.

    I would have been crying.

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  2. Oh, you are brave! You handled the situation very well especially when you asked the Emergency man to drive the other man home. Smart move!

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  3. I hope that's the only booby-trap you come across...you really are a savy woman to know what to do...

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  4. I know I'm not supposed to laugh, but after 6 months, it's ok right?! That is one seriously big hole! You are so right...the gentleman that got off the bus to help you was your guardian angle. It's amazing how many you've met since you've been there. It's a good thing the buses could stop and move around you, unlike a tram or cable car. If it had to happen, thankfully it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I see visions of a bus taking your car down the road with it after colliding, with you standing on the sidewalk, umbrella in hand, mouth agape. I'm so glad that wasn't what happened! Some lessons are harder to learn than others, aren't they!

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