David Marsden: Warm tales about the cold

The recent deep freeze has rocked all of us. Every Red Deer resident has experienced its pain.

None of us have been immune.

My car wouldn’t start and my friend and I struggled in the cold to jump start the engine Wednesday.

We worked in the nasty chill to get the engine going for longer than we should have. To no success.

It seemed remarkable that technology (a set of jumper cables), effort and intellect could be beaten by nature.

So I had to ask a co-worker to pick me up and take me to work.

The next day, determined not to fail, I called upon the skills of a professional: a tow-truck operator. Expense be damned. I would win this battle.

A co-worker took me to the house to meet the expert. He and his colleague had a charger the size of a small fridge.

We repeatedly tried to start the car, but had no luck. Despite turning the key time and time again, nothing.

Once again, I was driven back to the office by my co-worker to put out the newspaper.

But I would not accept defeat. I needed to rent a car, because I had an important out-of-town appointment on the weekend.

I brought up the rental car listings on the internet and telephoned the companies, one by one. And one by one, they told me the demand had been so great, because of car problems created by the weather, there were no rentals available.

In desperation, I widened the scope of my search, and spotted a company I had not contacted. And, yes, they had a car available.

A co-worker dropped me off at home that evening.

A colleague collected me in the morning, and we made our way to the car rental outlet as instructed at 9 a.m.

The co-worker mentioned he, too, was having car troubles, and I would have to pop by his mechanic’s shop and drive him back to the newspaper.

I was happy to return the favour.

When we got to the car rental office, the sign on the door said the employee had to step away, but would be back in an hour.

Because I couldn’t read the phone number listed on the notice, I stepped out of the car. I discovered to my surprise that the office’s front door was open.

I was relieved to have success and went inside and confidently presented my confirmation number for the rental of the car.

They had no record of my request. Furthermore, they had no cars.

Now, I was defeated. But we had to drop my co-worker’s car off at the mechanic’s place.

It occurred to me perhaps the manager might have a car to borrow, so I could make it to my out-of-town appointment.

“I might,” he said as he drove us back to the office.

Long story short, he did have a vehicle I could borrow.

And I made it to my appointment Saturday.

I have learned Mother Nature may set us back in the short term, but there exists a tremendous human spirit that will be not be smothered.

I learned there is tremendous kindness. Thank you to my co-workers who ferried me back and forth to various commitments.

Thank you to the mechanic for lending me a vehicle.

Such openness of heart will not be forgotten.

I have also learned to be grateful this was a First World problem. I am fortunate to have a car – even if it doesn’t start.

And to be alive.

A young doctor, Laura Kathleen Kosakoski, was sadly killed in a recent avalanche in Banff National Park.

Before she died, she left a note to herself: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

Laura, in my experience, we’re living up to your reasonable expectations.

I will always keep such wisdom in mind.

David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

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