What a day.

My husband, Zeus, and I were headed to the California coast to get out of the heat (108 degrees!) when our car died going uphill on a windy 2-lane highway. It just stopped without a warning.

Within seconds a bright blue older pickup truck pulled over just ahead of us. A man popped out offering to give us a hand. We were freaked out as the traffic was piling up behind us and people had begun honking.

The Hispanic man’s face, shining with sweat, smiled and showed us a nautical weight rope, signaling a tow. His English was minimal but got the point across and hitched us up to his little bright blue truck. It struggled just a little but pulled us up the hill to safety. I offered to pay him for his kindness but he adamantly refused to accept, just smiling saying “No, only helping.” I shook his hand, humbled by his kindness.

At this point we called AAA. We have a 100 mile towing service plan. The temperatures now reached over 90 and the dogs and I were coming close to heat exhaustion. An hour later AAA called and said thy couldn’t find anyone to tow us the 20 miles needed, but they would call around, no estimate on how much longer we would have to wait.

By now my mind is becoming fuzzy as I do not create cortisol in any significant amount to combat heat or stress and have been in more E.Rs than I can count and I can feel an E.R. visit is nearing.

Zeus spotted a CHP car passing us and waved them down to take me to town. They said they weren’t allowed to carry passengers, but the dogs and I could sit in their car until the A/C cooled us off. Zeus now called the local police, trying to find a ride for us to someplace – anyplace – cool.

A Hispanic officer named Luis responded. He gave me and the dogs, Ernie and Angel, a ride to a dog friendly cafe in town. He then handed me his card and said he explained our predicament to dispatch. He told me to give them a call and they would send him out personally to give me, Zeus and the dogs a ride to wherever we needed to go. Way above and beyond!

Officer Luis and our Towing Angel are the very people who I have heard such ugly commentary over again and again in recent times. They helped us above and beyond out of the kindness of their heart while all insurance companies, even the CHP, didn’t or couldn’t.

I’ve cooled off, my mind is returning well enough to string these words together, order some chicken for my dogs and let them cool their little bellies off on the slab floor of the BBQ place where Officer Luis dropped us off.

The blame, resentment and hatred we have been engaging in America has no place in a country where our families too immigrated then proceeded to displace the Native Americans. None of us is entitled to this American life, it is a gift, and I am tired of some feeling they are “more gifted” than the rest.

We can figure out this issue of giving people who are poor a better chance just as this country gave all of my poor Irish, Scottish and German forebearers. The “pull up the drawbridge” meanness America has been indulging in is ugly and uncalled for.

I don’t know the answers but I do know that we can try to solve it with a kind and compassionate heart which is what America used to stand for… and still stands for in the kindness of strangers, most courageously by those who have been vilified in recent rhetoric. This kindness is drawing us back to our hearts and our core as a country of good will and hope.