Bright yellow car offers ray of hope on hot, stormy day

Neighbor's lift to air-conditioned building is heavenly act
2012-09-27T00:00:00Z Bright yellow car offers ray of hope on hot, stormy dayOpinion by Barbara Russek Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Do you believe in guardian angels? After a recent experience, I'm definitely open to the possibility.

It was a sultry, overcast Sunday afternoon in early September, one of those forgettable days one passes doing forgettable things. Despite a slight sense of ennui, in the back of my mind was a feeling of security. I could still hear the whirr of the A/C going full-blast - the thermostat registering a crisp 73 degrees. That good news trumped everything.

Then the storm came: lightning and thunder followed by rain in sheets. We Tucsonans always welcome the rain, and for good reason. First and foremost, it is a rare and precious commodity. In addition, I would be saved from having to fill up the koi pond and water the plants. It would also be a few degrees cooler after the storm. That was huge; fall was on the calendar but not yet in the air.

Suddenly everything stopped. No more A/C, no more fans, lights, electric clocks or fridge. Life as I knew it had just come to an abrupt halt. A quick call to my neighbor confirmed that I had not been singled out for a last hurrah of summer misery. Everyone in the area was in the same boat.

It was starting to get warmer in the house. Grabbing the car keys proved to be an exercise in futility by a desperate woman trying to escape. Of course I couldn't go anywhere. The electric garage door wasn't budging.

A feeling of panic began to creep over me - just exactly what was I going to do now? The rains eventually stopped, but the power didn't come back on. If this were winter, one could get out a few flashlights and make a party of it. But there were no festivities that afternoon, as everything, including me, was starting to melt.

Waiting it out on the patio wasn't an option, as the chaise and chairs were drenched, so I just stood out front, wondering what to do next. One man whose car had been parked in the driveway was able to get out. He seemed more powerful than Superman, overcoming nature's wrath with a single press of the accelerator.

Suddenly out of the blue, a shiny, yellow car pulled up in front of me, like a beacon of light emerging from the gloom. The driver was a young man I had never seen before.

"Hi," he said. "I moved in about three months ago on the street behind you. My power is off and I'm just checking to see what's going on with my neighbors."

"I'm in a tough spot," I began, explaining about my heat sensitivity. Turns out Ted, as he told me to call him ("My Chinese name is too hard for Americans to pronounce") was in a tough spot of his own. He and his roommates had just finished shopping for a week's worth of groceries at the nearby supermarket.

I asked Ted if he would be willing to drive me someplace where the A/C was still functioning. "No problem," he replied without hesitation. Ted gave me his address and told me to come by if I needed him.

I soon decided I did. The first thing I noticed when I got to Ted's place was the bright yellow car offering a ray of hope. I told him I needed help, he opened the door and we were off. But just exactly where were we going and how long would I be there were questions that remained to be answered.

Driving along the rain-soaked streets, the two of us made small talk. He is a student at the University of Arizona majoring in computer science.

The coffee shop we tried was closed. I then suggested he drop me off at a nearby hotel. Seeing the automatic glass doors open and feeling that first blast of cold air, I knew everything would somehow work out.

Within about 10 minutes Ted called to inform me that the power was on and asked if I wanted him to pick me up. I gratefully accepted. Life as I knew it was back to normal.

A few goodies I took Ted the next day in appreciation didn't seem like enough. What else could I do? Suddenly it came to me: Maybe one day I'll get the chance to be someone's guardian angel.

On StarNet: Read Barbara Russek's recent columns at azstarnet.com/barbararussek

E-mail Barbara Russek at Babette2@comcast.net

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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