Rolling Through SNAFUs with the Help of Travel Angels

Travel SNAFUs are bound to happen. You miss your flight. Your bus breaks down. The train derails. There’s a transit strike.

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Rollerbag Mom is a great travel companion, particularly in times of travel trouble.

Or, as was the case on a recent road trip with Rollerbag Mom, you blow a tire.

It was a cool Arizona night on what should have been an incident-free drive from Phoenix to Tucson, Arizona. Rollerbag Mom and I had just stopped at BoSa donuts in Casa Grande (at the request of Rollerbag Pop!) to pick up a dozen of the world’s freshest and best-tasting donuts. We never suspected we’d need a baker’s dozen of donuts to get home safely.

About 12 miles from Casa Grande, we heard a loud “pop!” and subsequent “flap-flap-flap.” It didn’t feel like we’d blown a tire, but I pulled over to the shoulder. Sure enough, the rear driver’s side tire was a goner. Luckily, Rollerbag Mom had roadside assistance. With a quick call from my cell phone, help was on its way.

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It was dangerous work. Though drivers are required by law to pull to the opposite lane when someone is stranded on the shoulder, many do not. Semi-trailer trucks sped by at far beyond the speed limit, just inches from the man changing our tire. And the desert, for those who have never experienced it, gets pitch black, save the stars on the big sky above. Our fix-it angel was an aged, thin man, whose hair waved about like a gray halo, backlit by halogen headlights. We sat in the car, warm and relatively safe, while we worried for him as he removed the flat and replaced it with a donut. The car shook as massive vehicles sped by.

He advised us not to drive over 50 miles per hour. With 47 miles to go, and a stretch of highway 10 where traffic regularly drives faster than 75 mph, we asked if there was an alternate path. He suggested we take the frontage road until it ended, about 20 miles down the road.

We continued on the side road, chatting and giggling our troubles away, but feeling rattled. We paused at a gas station where the frontage road appeared to end, and took a breather. It was then that several other road angels – in the shape of uniformed firemen – helped us. They not only showed us a frontage road that continued for the duration of our journey, but took great care to explain how to navigate a confusing construction zone. And they sincerely wished us a safe trip. We were emboldened by their collective kindness.

It took longer than expected, but thanks to our road angels, we overcame our travel troubles and arrived safely (and admittedly, exhausted) in Tucson. We were grateful for those who helped us along the way, people who likely had no idea how much their time and expertise had made a difference for us.

I have encountered so many helpful people in my travels; it is a faith-builder. They’ve assisted me even when I haven’t spoken their language. Their kindness and generosity is overwhelming, and so, so needed for those of us who wish to experience the world; and their gifts are an essential component of our deeper understanding of the oneness of all cultures and peoples. To all travel angels of the world, thank you for helping the lost, the exhausted, the confused and the frightened. You do more for the travel experiences than you may ever know…until you experience that same generosity in karmic bounty.

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 Photo on 11-2-12 at 3.52 PM #3


Charish Badzinski is an explorer, foodie and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations. 

 

Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb

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Creative Commons License

Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at rollerbaggoddess.wordpress.com.

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3 thoughts on “Rolling Through SNAFUs with the Help of Travel Angels

  1. Love the story and would like to add; Thank you to the wonderful assistance of State Farm Insurance road assistance personnel who with that quick phone call arranged for our tow truck angel to find us and change our tire and to the Arizona patrol officer who pulled up behind us at nearly the exact moment the agent on the phone asked if we felt we were in an unsafe situation and offered to call for police assistance for our sense of safety. Six angles around us counting the firemen in Marana. Truly a night of feeling watched over and protected.

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    1. Thank you so much for the reminders, Rollerbag Mom! There were many, many angels along the way, as there often are when we travel. But you forgot one: yourself. Running into travel trouble with you is a true joy, because you embrace the opportunities for fun, even when the going gets tough.

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  2. Oops, forgot the mention the woman from the Insurance company did all her arranging from Kansas City. It may be time for me to consider getting a cell phone of my own!

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