When I was 19 me and two of my guy friends went to Jacksonville to visit one of their dads. This is what happened on our trip. First we took Greyhound down, after leaving one the first bus we were taken to another station to switch buses. After a long delay we were finally boarded and on our way. However we were once again delayed as the bus driver had to stop and wait for the cops to show up. It seems that one of the passengers was very drunk and even after being warned decided he needed to smoke. While it was slightly amusing to see a drunk guy still clutching his cigarette while being removed from the bus by two officers all the delays set us back about 3 hours.
Trying to sleep on a Greyhound bus is a very difficult task, and one that I did not accomplish. So after a very long sleepless nite we finally arrived at about 7am. My friend’s dad was there to pick us up; however he did not take us to his house. Instead we got to go pick up furniture and upon arriving to the house move it all inside and set it up. Putting together a bed after being awake over 24 hours is not that fun I must say and not something I wish to ever do again. The rest of the day was pretty boring and we all got in small naps. But that nite is when things started to get odd.
In attempts to entertain us, we were taken to a pool hall. To get into the place you had to pull to the backside of the building, walk next to the dumpsters, and enter the back fire exit. Inside the floor was covered in saw dust, there was a cat running around, the female bartender only had maybe 4 teeth, and there was a guy doing coke off of the counter. Classy place I must say. Attempting to stay out of the way I found a chair near the pool table and made friends with the cat. This is where I stayed until we left only looking up when the bartender brought another drink. What do you expect in a place like this, it’s not like they are concerned with the law so yeah they served minors. When we finally left it was around 2 am. Once we got back to the house, being stupid & young, we stayed up for a couple more hours watching TV.
The next morning we were woke up at about 6am and told it was time to leave. We were given the keys to the car. (Break in the story. My friends parents lived in 2 different states though they were still married. Our whole mission for this trip was to go to Jacksonville FL and get the car the dad bought for the mom. We were then to drive it back to GA for her. Never really understood this situation; but anyway). So we start our long drive back to GA. The trip is going pretty well and soon we are in South GA; but then things go wrong. The car gets a flat tire so we pull over. Opening the trunk not only reveals there is no jack or tire iron; but no spare. So we decide to walk it to the next exit, about a mile away.
Walking up the exit I notice there is no sign pointing where gas stations or places to eat are. When we get to the road there is nothing as far as you can see either direction. Sleepy, grouchy, and tired of walking I offer up that maybe we could sit there for a few minutes to see which direction the most cars go. It’s a nice plan I still think and would work in most places; but after 15 minutes and no cars we have no idea what to do. As we plot our next move a pickup truck pulls up to us. The man asks us what happened and we tell him what happened. He looks at us for a minute and then says he will be right back and to wait there. So we decide to wait seeing that he didn’t drive either direction on the main road; but instead pulled down a dirt road. Waiting on his return a police car pulls up to us, finally help. The officer rolls down the window and asks what we are doing. Once again we explain what happened and about the man that said he could help. Instead of offering to help us like I was thinking may happen he simply asks “Was he a white man or a black man”. We all stood there for a second and glanced at each other before answer “White”. The officer then replied “Good” and drove away. This was one of the oddest moments in my life and I’m still not sure to this day what all that was about.
Anyway after waiting a little longer the man showed back up. He told the two guys to climb into the back of the truck and for me to get into the cab. Well I didn’t want too at all, guess I’ve seen too many horror movies; but my friends nudge me and gave me looks like I was being stupid. So in the front I climbed. First stop on our trip was this man’s house. It was down a dirt road, then a long dirt driveway. All around the house were piles of tires, car parts, and rusted cars; behind the house you could tell was swamp land. He told us to stay in the truck while he grabbed some tools. While he was gone I tried my door thinking I could now just jump in the back with my friends and it would be cool. However the door did not open from the inside. My mind started thinking about movies I’ve seen and I was just sure that some friend or family member of his would come out and help him attack us. I mean this stuff isn’t suppose to happen in real life. But just the man comes out with a toolbox and asks where our car is.
On the way to the car before we hit the highway a truck coming down the other side of the road stops dead and the truck I’m in slows down and stops next to it. In the other truck is a very old looking man wearing a bright orange hat with a picture of a gun and it says “I Don’t Call 911”. They chat for a few minutes, the guy asks what we are doing, our driver replies, and the old man says he will help. But first asks if anyone has seen the cop around. We tell him we did and where he went. The old man replies saying “Good, if I get caught driving without a license again I’ll get jail time”. Once again we are back on the road heading to our car, to ease my mind I think the man tries to make small talk with me. He talks about his dog (which is nice) then on to how the gators around his house ate his dog (not cool, horror movie fears coming back). After a bumpy ride over the median to get to our car the two men jack up our car, put on a spare that they had, and wished us a safe trip.
To this day I have no clue where we were or anything more than the man’s first name. And while I swore to myself that I would never get myself into that situation again (and with the help of cell phones be more widely used knock on wood I shouldn’t) I have to say that while at times creepy you can’t always judge things by first glance. The man never even asked for payment and besides the quick thanks we gave at that moment I was never able to get into contact again to thank him. Maybe he will read this and know I’m talking about him, if so: Thank you so much for being so nice and helping out some teens that I’m sure looked like we were nothing but trouble.
Until the next excerpt of my life.....(Hopefully some of the future ones will have pictures tagging along, damn the days pre-digital camera)