People keep laughing at this story. And there are some parts that are funny. But... I saw it as a huge tender mercy.
When I drove to Grandma's on Wednesday morning, I thought, "huh... is that steam coming from my engine?" I pop the hood in Hanford and see nothing too strange, but in all George Washington honesty (or Elephant honesty, as Ben would put it), I wouldn't know something strange from something normal. I just saw some coolant on my engine. I checked the coolant and it was half empty. "Hmmm," I think to myself, "gotta get me some of that." Well, hunting in Grandpa's shop was unsuccessful, so I thought, "I'll just keep an eye on my heat gauge and if my engine overheats, I'll pull over immediately."
That worked. Almost.
See, I was doin just fine, rollin' along Fowler road. But once I stopped to get on the 99, I saw steam coming out of my engine again. "Baaaaaaaddddd news," je me suis dite. But again, my heat gauge reported nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until I tried to climb an overpass at 75+ mph.
Then the needle shot STRAIT UP.
And I pulled over.
When I left Grandma and Grandpa's, I prayed "Please let me get to the temple alive. Please. Then home." But as I saw the engine over heat, I prayed "Goodness, please just let me get home alive!"
Of course the place I have to pull over is Jensen and 2nd. What a weirdy part of town. I pull into the closest parking lot which was that of a MacDonalds. Before I had even turned off my engine, a black homeless man ran at me with his stroller filled with windshield cleaning supplies. He shouted "Open the hood! Open the hood!" I figured if I was still in the car, he couldn't do anything to harm me. Yes, I am ashamed to admit that THAT was my first thought. But anyway, so I open my hood and started to cry. And call my dad. And decide that it's safe enough to go look at my engine.
His name is Ray. And he said he was gunna get some water for my engine. "You're overheated. You need water. If you move it over there, they've told me I can use the hose to get you some water."
"I can't move my car. I can't do it." I didn't know why, but I was stubbornly staying in my little parking spot. Later, I decide that it must have been the Spirit telling me NOT to move my car.
Undeterred, Ray runs inside the MacDo's and I finally get ahold of Dad. "Call AAA," he tells me, "And I'll come pick YOU up." By the time I've hung up with Dad, Ray is back with a GIANT pitcher and jug full of water. He pulls out a rag and opens my radiator.
"You're dry. There is NO water in here."
"That's bad I'm assuming," I reply.
I talk to AAA and Ray at the same time. Even though all I really need is to tell them to send me a tow-truck, Ray tells me to give them the whole diagnoses he's found. He tells me "I'm a mechanic." I believe him.
While I wait for the tow truck, Ray discovers that there is an 8 INCH crack across the front of my radiator. "Thank you Jesus!" he yells all of a sudden. I jump a little in my little white dress (remember, I was on my way to the temple).
"Yes, thank you Jesus," I repeat. "What happened?"
Ray tells me that if I had tried to go even across the street, the block would have been damaged. "Thank you, God," he mutters. "You barely avoided DISASTER. It is by the grace of God that your car is fine."
"I completely agree," I told him. "I couldn't agree more."
While we stood there and watched the water drain out of my engine, two men came over and mocked me. One made a single comment, then got into his truck and drove off. Another man, parked on the other side of the parking lot, came over and lectured me about how much this sucked for me. Seriously. He gave me outrageous estimates at how much it would cost to fix. Then declared that it was unfixable and I'd be lucky to get two grand for my car. Oh goody. GO AWAY. Then Ray asked him if he could wash his windows for money, and the man went off for another five minutes about how he should be on welfare not begging in parkinglots. Gosh, made me so angry. Finally the man went away, and Ray went into MacDo's to get more water for my car. When he came back he told me to go inside the MacDo's where it's cool (it was around 100 degrees outside). He'd watch for the towtruck.
He tried to take care of me in every way appropriate. I only had three dollars on me, and apologized for the small amount. But I gave it to him anyway. He thanked me then thanked God. I told him, "I'm a Christian woman, and what you did was very Christian."
He replied, "I'm a Christian man. I saw you and asked myself , you know, what would Jesus do? And I think Jesus would have helped you."
I did too.
When Dad showed up, he gave Ray another ten bucks. But all I wanted to do was give him a Book of Mormon or pass along card or ANYTHING. The man was an answer to my prayer and helped me in a time of need and distress. I wanted to give him something that would last longer than $13 would.
I haven't stopped thinking about him. I hope he stays around that area, because I'm heading over there to give him a Book of Mormon. I haven't felt the desire, or NEED really, to give someone a BOM like that since my mission. And there's no way I'm not acting on that.
So, the lesson I learned is:
My radiator broke. Luckily, it has been fixed. Radiators can be fixed.
Heavenly Father often sends homeless men to help me (totally not lying or joking... it's a series of long stories). Especially ones who think about others much quicker than they think of themselves.
What I want people to have more than anything else in the world is the peace and joy that I find in the true and full gospel of Jesus Christ. So now I have two BOM's in my car.
No more hesitating. No more hiding. No more hating.
What a Righteous Ray, Rotten Radiator, and Rad Realization.
For behold, are we not all ? Do we not all depend
upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which
we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for
silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?