Faith In Humanity Restored

Faith In Humanity Restored

Oct 26, 2016

by Jon Cruzan

Milton SDB Church, WI

On Friday 8/19, Sue and I, along with two grandsons, were returning to Milton from several days of vacation at Indiana Dunes State Park. We were in our RV, named Espresso, making our way west on I-90 through the Chicago area. We had enjoyed great fun but it was time to get home. Espresso was full of sand, dirty clothes, bicycles, odds and ends of food, and the other detritus that accumulates on such a trip. We were tired and anticipating good old Milton.

Even though it was 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon — Chicago rush hour time — things were going well. Traffic was very heavy but moving reasonably well. I was in the far left lane as we approached the O’Hare area when I smelled something “hot.” A quick check of my gauges indicated no issues, so I chalked this up to three packed lanes of traffic and a hot afternoon. Then I noticed what I thought was a puff of smoke. I tried to ignore this but then saw more wafting from somewhere underneath Espresso. This was disconcerting to say the least.

I needed to get off the road and shut Espresso down. Remember, I’m in the far left lane and the highway is packed. I surveyed the left shoulder (what could be called a shoulder) no room for an RV — maybe no room for anything if you wanted to stay alive. I had no choice but to immediately work right. I was able to get over nearly immediately and there was an off ramp. I think others may have seen the smoke and allowed me some leeway. I prefer to think of this as an act of God (parting of the Red Sea comes to mind).

I zoomed up that off ramp having no clue where I was. I turned right and maneuvered into the first parking lot that presented itself. Another act of God. This lot was big enough for Espresso, was not busy as part of the adjacent building was under renovation, it was shaded (quite hot out), and I knew I would not have to move Espresso anywhere else.

I shut down and got Sue, Ivan, and TJ out immediately. Another act of God — there was no fire. I didn’t know what the problem was, but no fire and no more smoke! I carry AAA for these unwelcome but possible eventualities so I got a tow on the way — ETA 75 minutes minimum. Remember that it is now about 4:30 on Friday afternoon. Chicagoans are already gearing up for their weekend.

Having a tow on the way was one thing. Knowing where to have Espresso towed was another. I have no idea where I am in Chicago and, clearly, no knowledge of mechanics. I decided to go into the “Immediate MD,” an urgent care open in the building where I had parked. They didn’t appear to be busy. Lindsey welcomed me immediately. She told me I should bring Sue and the boys into the waiting room; that they would be welcome to stay there until the urgent care closed. I gave her my tale of woe and asked if any of the staff there knew of a mechanic in the area. She asked the MD on duty who quickly googled a list of mechanics in the Jefferson Park area (I didn’t know I was in Jefferson Park). I read the list but still didn’t

have much of a clue, so I just picked one of about twelve listed. Another act of God. I called and talked to Pete at “Pete’s Automotive” — three or four blocks down the street. Pete assured me he could handle the problem, that he would be there until about 6 p.m., that he could lock Espresso in his gated lot overnight and begin work on it in the morning. Of course, the unspoken problem here was the clock was running and I didn’t know when the tow would arrive. Would it be before Pete left for the evening?

Lindsey and the “Immediate MD” took very good care of us, i.e. AC, bathroom, snacks, magazines, etc. I was dazzled by their customer service. While we waited, my eye on my watch, I made several calls to AAA to check progress on the tow and to Pete trying to keep him updated.

The tow arrived. Another act of God. The driver was amazing, his equipment was large enough to tow Espresso, and he adopted us like his family. Yes, even though it was past 6 p.m., Pete was still open and said to come on down. Fast forward a bit. We get to Pete’s and everything is fine. He is confident he can fix my problem on Saturday morning: it’s a brake caliper issue on one wheel. My two sons-in-law, Tom and Leif, have arrived from Milton to pick up their sons and Sue. Pete offers to let me stay in Espresso overnight but I was having a problem with the electrical connection so my family dropped me at the Marriott just up the Interstate a bit. Clean sheets, aroma therapy body wash and shampoo — badly needed respite at that moment.

Saturday morning: I asked the desk clerk at the Marriott about getting back to Pete’s at Jefferson Park. I was less than 100 yards from the Cumberland train station just across their parking lot and Jefferson Park was just two stops down the line. This is new for a Milton boy. I got on the train ($3.00), got off two stops down, and was directly across the street from Pete’s Automotive. It was too early for Pete to be open so I had a bite and some coffee in the front window of a DD which gave me a direct view of Pete’s. Pete arrived just before 8 a.m. I walked over and got things started. I was on the road home by 10 a.m. and in my driveway by noon. The morning experience at Pete’s was one I will not soon forget: it was so outstanding — but that is another story.

So what’s the point of all of this? I was presented with a very serious challenge to the very safety of my life and the lives of my wife and two grandsons. Along with that challenge, I was presented with what I can only call several acts of God. 1) there was no fire; 2) I was able to cross three packed lanes of rush hour traffic quickly and safely; 3) I found a shaded, big-enough parking lot immediately; 4) Lindsey and the staff at “Immediate MD”; 5) Pete and his staff at “Pete’s Automotive” (he was like an guardian angel); 6) a phenomenal tow truck driver; 7) AAA who got the job done; 8) sons-in-law Tom and Leif; 9) the Marriott pampering; 10) the CTA staff; 11) well-behaved grandsons; 12) I was in a safe area of a very large city; and 13) my own God-given and developed personal characteristics that allowed me to deal with this crisis in a relatively calm, logical manner.

I expected the worst (you know the stories we believe about people in a big city), but experienced the best that humanity has to offer. I was treated better in Jefferson Park than I have been, at times, in Milton over the past few months. My faith in the good of humanity has been restored. My good friend and Pastor, Nate Crandall, urges all of us to tell others about what God is doing in our lives. This is not the most comfortable thing for me to do. It might not be for you either. But, I simply had to share this incredible experience. What HAS God been doing in my life? I think He has been most busy, don’t you?

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