The sun had set and he and his friends were eight miles past Little Rock Arkansas on I-40. They were eager to return home after a couple of days in Texas at SXSW. Driving at what I can only assume was highway speed, the car’s tire popped. One could say that the tire popped in the middle of nowhere since Little Rock was behind them, hundreds of miles of farmland were ahead of them and they were 800 miles away from home.
A phone call to mom. She answers with fear in her voice because she sees the number on caller ID. She’s not ashamed to admit that she’s been tracking her son’s progress in “Find My Friends.” Her relief to hear that he is safe turns to worry as she grows to understand that he is on the side of a highway with a popped tire, two friends and no town in sight. Her thoughts immediately turn to AAA and she thanks her intuition for making her run into the house to get the membership card right before his trip.
This was our situation last night. I have to be honest. I freaked out and started to research repair shops and their business hours. I texted my son like crazy. He told me to stop, that I was making things worse for him and that he would handle it.
He downloads the AAA app, presses the roadside assistance button and the app identifies his exact location to their roadside team. In less than 50 minutes they have found him, assessed that the tire is beyond repair, helps him put on the spare and directs him to a Walmart SuperCenter back in Little Rock which they know will be open the next day. He gets a hotel room across the street from Walmart, has a good night’s sleep, and is there when they open and is done in exactly 11 minutes.
I rarely plug a product, service or organization but my love for my son and the emotional relief we have received from simply having AAA is worth talking about. It’s been three years since we became members, when my son was eighteen years old and a relatively new driver. Having a membership has given us peace of mind.
As your child ages, they need to make their own mistakes and trust me, they make quite a few. It’s good to know that there are some things that you can do to give them independence and just a little bit more support. This was a good lesson for my son and an even more important one for me. His first reaction was disbelief that he had to “wait” to continue driving because all repair shops were closed. He had to understand that life throws you curve balls and how you respond to them is just as important as what you learn from them. My son took care of his friends, handled the repair shop and made sure the car was in good shape before he continued on his journey today.
And my lesson? I worried needlessly for two hours. He can take care of himself and he did take care of himself. I need to work more on letting go, but I’m sure glad we had a little bit of a safety net in place. I will also renew AAA.