Photo via californiatreatmentcenters.org
This is Bakersfield.
Unexpected bumps in the road along life’s journey – Part II
By JAMMIE SALAGUBANG – Buzz Editor
Mettler is not a good place to have an accident.
To be fair, no place really is; but Mettler really is not. It seems to be a rather drab, middle-of-nowhere, depressing area. Probably made more so because my fianc and I were stuck there after our car accident, faced only with prohibitively expensive options for getting out.
Bakersfield was the closest town with car rental services, but Mettler is about half an hour away from there. That may seem close to some, but not to the Enterprise rental car agency (isn’t their tagline: “We’ll pick you up”?) or the myriad other car agencies we called. Their answer: Take a taxi to Bakersfield Airport (which of course, would add more expense).
During this time, a man in a large truck drove up and parked in the lot next to the Shell gas station where we were stranded. He looked us over, probably taking in our belongings that were strewn about us in at least a three-yard radius (my man had a lot of stuff in his car).
At first I didn’t really pay attention to him, as plenty of other people had been gawking at our sad state during the last two hours. However, he kept hanging around and being very obvious about watching us.
So I looked at him, too. He was wearing a long-sleeved blue denim shirt with blue jeans (different shades, natch). His belt buckle was golden, large and shiny. But what impressed me the most was his mustache. Thick and wide, it looked like it took up a fourth of his face.
He asked us what happened. We told him and got into some friendly conversation. I had just about decided to write him off as an overly curious bystander when we asked him if he knew of any taxi services. He said no.
Then — “But how about a free ride to Bakersfield?”
We were too worn out to be worried about stranger danger. However, on the trip into Bakersfield, we discovered he had more to be worried about, much more. Turns out he owned that gas station, actually a whole string of them, up and down California. The man was loaded.
And nice. He helped put our stuff in his truck, offered us bottled water and took us to the Bakersfield Airport in record time. After being up for more than 24 hours, riding an emotional rollercoaster for the last three hours and feeling aches and pains with alarming increasing intensity, his kindness was a balm to ease the weary soul.
Next week: Terrible transportation weekend continues with the trip back home.
Jammie Karlman is the entertainment editor for the Chico Enterprise-Record. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JammieKarlman