Can’t You Just Go Back Inside?

There’s nothing like locking your keys in the car…
while it’s running…
in 29* New England weather…
and you’re out with your child.

Why do I pay for AAA? Because they have never let me down!

This is brief, but I wanted to give AAA the shout-out they deserve. From initial phone call (I wish there were not a million prompts to get to someone) to the time I was in my car was about 21 minutes!

Here’s how it happened:
After a class at our local Jewish Community Center, I walked briskly to my beautiful Subie waiting for me about a block from the entrance. It. Was. Freezing. I huddled Addie’s head into my shoulder and pressed the unlock button once before opening the front door and popping the key in the ignition to start warming it up. Pushing the unlock button on the door’s panel, I got out of the car, closed my door and opened the back door to put Addie in her seat realized I had pushed the lock button on the door and had just started my car and then locked myself out.


Thankfully I had my bag, with my wallet containing my AAA card in it, still on my shoulder. I put Addie down and quickly called the number on the card. After explaining that we were locked out of a running vehicle and where we were, how old Addie was and asking if we were safe, the woman asked: Can’t you just go back inside to wait?

I wish.

No matter where we are in the world, there will always be people who want to steal. When your car is running and you are no where near it, locked or not, someone in Providence would be glad to break a window and take that car off your hands. Being that we were too far form the entrance for me to watch over the car, we were stranded on the sidewalk. Not a problem, the woman stated, we will get someone out to you soon. With that she confirmed my phone number and we parted ways. Dispatch then called me and told me someone was on their way, about 5 more minutes. And there it was. Within 17 minutes AAA Fleet Driver out of Providence 10463 was there… but he wasn’t just a driver.

He pulled up, put his 4-ways on, jumped out of his tow truck and opened his passenger door. Please get in my truck while you wait, he said. I turned the heat on high when I got the call- it’s nice and warm for you. We did as instructed. I hoisted myself into the truck and was hit by a blast of hot air. It. Was. Glorious.

As I warmed our 20 fingers in the vents, I watched the driver work his magic- realizing he was in a full jumpsuit and jacket, he must have been sweltering in the truck, but knew his charge would be cold. Damning his own comfort for the-idiot-mom-being-me, we were now sitting in the heat for which I’d been longing.

Within minutes, we were back in our car, warm and safe… but I was feeling restless. I never carry cash on me, so I had nothing to give my AAA hero. I know the drivers get paid, but I have never not tipped a person who rescued me (unless it was Dave)… searching my car, I remembered my emergency $20.

You know that $20 you’ve been saving in a hidden spot for years? For me it had been since Addie was born. I always had a $20 for the most dire of situations… none that had presented themselves in her lifetime, until now. This gentleman, who came to my rescue a few weeks before Christmas could certainly appreciate an emergency and stupidity and mom-brain that I’m sure he’d seen 100 times before, but who never passed a judgmental look or quip, who helped me into my car and stayed with us until Addie was buckled and I was in the driver’s seat deserved something more for his time. I felt myself grip the fresh, crisp bill from my hiding spot and leap out of my car. I raced to his window before he put the truck in gear, and as he rolled down the window I blurted, “You really saved me. Thanks.”

As I buckled myself into my car I face-palmed myself. A $20?! Michelle Kathryn Joanna Worth Martinka! But I saw his smile as genuine as one could be- the same smile he gave me when he looked up after popping the lock. He was satisfied to have helped someone go on with their day, to get out of the cold, to have kept a child out of harm’s way. There’s always another emergency $20 to be tucked away, but the opportunities we have to show our appreciation to others are often fleeting moments. Whether it’s a love letter to you spouse, a special dessert for your child, a text to your sister or your last $20 to the AAA driver, don’t miss out on your opportunity to not just have, but to give, thanks.

Now this holiday season AAA has literally saved us from the cold and saved us cash on gifts we get for friends and family, like tickets to the movies! True story… I hope you have a membership, too! Thank you, AAA. I’ve been a member since 2000, and will be until they take my license away! Happy holiday travels, everyone- don’t forget your AAA card.


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  1. Susan Worth LaManna says

    Yes! AAA rocks! I remember Ocean City and the time we had with the van..that “fun” keeps me in lifetime membership, too.

  2. says

    I love my AAA and rely on them religiously. I haven’t had the same experience as you did, but I am glad you had these guys on hand to bail you out. I think I knew more about car care and self-repair in high school than I do now. All I know now is that my AAA and my cell phone are all I need to get out of a jam!

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