I had some mighty plans for Saturday that came to a grinding halt on the off ramp to 691 in Meriden. I was driving to get to the House of Rock after Kung Fu for a quick stop before turning around and heading back to Stoneham to say hello to my folks when the tachometer needle started shaking violently. UP down down UP down down UP down down UP… it shook itself to 0 and the engine stalled.
I was coasting at about 40, hit my emergency lights and touched the brakes to slow to a stop… could I make it across the street to the Shell station? … I gasped! When the car stalled I lost power brakes, but I didn’t make this connection in my head at the time of the engine stall, so when I touched the brakes I got no response. There was a mild freak out, I yanked the emergency brake, swung the wheel, and screeched to a standstill on the grass off of the highway.
I called up Shaun who helped me push the car across the street to that gas station. We tried to start the car again… to no avail. I walked into the Gas Station. There was a young Indian man behind the counter in an orange creamsicle colored shirt.
“Excuse me, my car broke down, is there a service station nearby?”
“yes actually, there’s one right on the other side of the dairy queen,” he responded pointing north “it’s about a 1 minute walk. If it’s closed, come back and I can get a friend who might be able to help you.”
Shaun and I headed over to the service station, but it was indeed closed. We walked back to the gas station and I thanked Shaun for his help and suggested that he head back home. I walked back into the service station.
“Hi, yeah… the place down the street is closed. You said you knew someone who might be able to lend me a hand?”
“Yes,” He said with a smile, “I’ll bring you to his shop. It’s just a ways down the street.”
I followed him to his car. It was a Lexus SUV.
“Wow! Nice car,” I stammered
“Thanks! It’s big, but it does the trick.”
“Do you own this gas station?”
“I do,” he responded “in fact a friend and I own a bunch of properties”
“mostly in this area?”
“actually no. All over. We have some in Michigan and New Jersey…” he went on with the list.
“yeah, we started about 10 years ago and now it’s about a 15 million dollar business”
He took me over to a little shop in Meriden where I met Jose. Jose promised he’d take a look at the car. I left the keys and my new Indian friend brought me back to the shop. I picked a few things out of the car that I needed and then headed home.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with the car, hopefully nothing too expensive. But this was definitely a unique experience. I’m grateful to have ended up at this particular gas station.