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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  December 17, 2006
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Topic category:  Other/General

The radiator hose.

Sometimes these things just write themselves.

Last week, I was leaving a major home repair store with some siding I needed to fix some rot on the side of our house.

I was almost to my truck when a guy carrying a new radiator hose came up and asked if Iíd seen a dark-haired guy wearing a ball cap and some dirty dungarees.

"Pretty much the male half of the parking lot" was what I was thinking, but I said, "No."

He seemed a bit sheepish, so I asked him why he was looking for this individual.

"Wanted to give him this hose. The guy came up to me when I left the store and told me his truck had blown a radiator hose. He said he was a few bucks short of what he needed to buy a new one and asked if I could spare the money."

Iíd already formed an opinion of the "blown radiator hose" story, but I was looking at someone with a new hose in his hand and knew I had a story if Iíd just let him go on.

"So?"

"So I talked with him for a bit and he told me what kind of truck he had and how it had happened. I said I didnít have much cash, but there was an auto parts store right up the street. I had my debit card and he seemed OK, so I told him to jump in and weíd go get his hose."

"Did he take you up on it?"

"No. He said that his wife was waiting at his truck on the other side of the parking lot and he didnít want to leave her alone while we went off. He kind of pointed over to the far end of the lot and started walking off in that direction."

"Did you see the truck?"

"Not really."

"But you have a hose."

"Yeah. About a month or so ago, I ran out of gas on I-5 and ended up walking on the shoulder with a gas can in my hand. Some guy finally stopped, took me to a filling station, waited until Iíd bought gas, drove me back to my truck, and then waited to make sure it started. Wouldnít let me give him a dime."

"So you bought the hose?"

"I figured it was my turn to help someone else. I knew what the guy needed and these things arenít all that expensive, so I just bought it and came back here. Iíve even got some extra coolant in the back of my truck. I thought heíd be pretty easy to find and that Iíd help him replace the hose and be on my way. Looks like heís gone though.

"Canít find him, huh?"

"No. Iíve driven around the lot a few times, but I donít see him or a truck with a leaking radiator hose. Iíd like to think that he just got it fixed and drove off."

"Yeah."

"But what I really think is that the whole thing was a scam to get a few bucks for beer or whatever."

"Yeah."

"And now Iím standing here holding a new radiator hose and Iím feeling like a dope."

About then, he shook his head and walked away.

And I had a story.

Not about all of the foolishness and hurt we hear about every day. Not even about local blockheads who get into a catfight over Christmas trees at the airport and end up making Seattle the butt of well-earned jokes nationwide.

This time itís a simple story about the kind of people who help keep this ever more crazy society of ours on an even keel. This time itís about someone who told a stranger that his truck had a "blown radiator hose" and that stranger went out of his way to lend a hand.

I never asked the gentleman holding the radiator hose his name but, if heís reading this, he should know something. He should know that he wasnít the dope that morning. Not by a long shot.

And, you know what? Iíd be willing to bet there were a lot more just like him close by.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.


Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2006 by Larry Simoneaux
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