That time I played the part of damsel in distress!

As my parent’s daughter, I pride myself on being a strong, capable, self-reliant woman.  From a young age, my papa made sure I knew how to wield a hammer, hold a shotgun, tend a garden, tie a slip-proof knot, shoot a basketball, and appreciate getting good and sweaty after a long day of hard work.  By the time I hit high school, I knew how to check the oil in my car, how to change a tire, and how to drive my father’s manual Hondo Civic.  (Well, almost).

I like that I was raised by a mother who pushed me, sometimes very hard, to meet my potential and who did not tolerate immaturity or laziness.  I like that I was a bit of a tomboy growing up, that I had an athlete’s muscled body, that when I moved a few months back, I could lift heavy boxes and help carry furniture.  I rather enjoy handy work.  Home Depot is a place I could roam for hours upon hours.  On the shelves in my study you will find an entire row of books from my women’s studies classes in college.

Growing up, my parents made sure I knew I could take care of myself.  They encouraged me to be a woman, yes—but to be a woman who was just as strong and capable and self-sufficient as any man.

Which is why I am beyond humored by what happened to me last night.

Following a terribly hot but wonderfully focused and inspiring yoga class, I headed to the neighborhood grocery store to pick up a few essentials.  It looked like rain when I left for yoga, so I drove up to the Harvard Square studio.  Meaning, when I went to the grocery store, I parked my car in the little side lot…that I have parked in at least a dozen times before.

I hurried inside; I hurried through the aisles, hungry and eager to get home.  My time in that store stretched no longer than 10, maybe 15, minutes. 

And when I hurried out, I saw that the front of my car had been lifted up onto a tow truck. 

Um, what?

I immediately called out to the man standing alongside my car.  “Hey!  Hey!  What’s going on?!  Are you towing my car?!”

The man looked lazily over at me and nodded.  “Yep, I am, ma’am.  Do you know this is a private lot?”  Pause.  “And you don’t have a permit.”

In my head, I started chanting, “Stay calm, stay calm,” but I could feel a flutter of anger in my chest.  Taking a deep breath, I replied, in as steady a voice as I could muster, “Sir, I have parked in this lot before, and I have never, ever seen a tow truck in here.  Furthermore, I was in that store for all of 10 minutes.  And this lot is EMPTY.  I don’t think my car is prohibiting anyone who DOES have a permit to find themselves a parking space.  Now, I am begging you, please, not to tow my car.  Please.”

He didn’t say anything for a moment.  I began to think my cool, calm, and collected act had worked.  And then he launched into this speech about how he had already called me in to the tow lot in Somerville, and I was going to have to go pick my car up there if I wasn’t willing to pay the fine.  I ask how much the fine is.  He says $65.  I ask how he had the time to pull into the lot AND get his truck positioned AND get my car on his towing rig AND call me in to his stupid office in Somerville all in the span of 10 minutes. 

He says nothing.  I then begin begging again. I briefly consider whether bursting into tears will do any good.

He won’t budge.  He says I can pay him $65, and he’ll let my car go.  At this point, it’s pushing 8:30 p.m., and I’m starving and a little shaky and starting to freak out a bit.  I decide that I’d rather just pay the jerk the stupid $65 and be on my way than stand there and argue in a damp, dark parking lot. 

I pull out my checkbook and snap, “Fine. Do you have a pen?”

“A pen?”

“Yes, a pen.”  I want to add “you moron!” but hold back.  “I need a pen if I’m going to write you a check for this ridiculous $65.”

The tow guy shakes his head.  “You have to pay cash.”

At this, I tip over the edge.  “What?!?!  How do I know you won’t just pocket it?  If I went to Somerville, would I have to pay cash?  This is ridiculous!  I’m not giving you $65 in cash!”

“Well, then, I’m not giving you your car,” he replies.

Hm.  Well…I really want my car back.  I really don’t want to go to Somerville.  I really want to go home. 

So, I start mumbling profanities, certainly loud enough for this spit of a man to hear me, and throw my groceries into my backseat and then storm back into the grocery store in search of the ATM.  Tears begin the hot, stinging prickle behind my eyes.  My stomach rumbles and clenches, and a cold sweat breaks out on my brow.  I am furious.  And, even worse, I feel totally and completely powerless.

Just then, as I’m withdrawing $80 from the ATM and realizing I’m now going to have go back into line to have a cashier break a $20 for me, another man comes up to me and says, “Are you okay?  Is that guy out there trying to tow you?” 

I can feel my lower lip trembling ever so slightly.  “Yes, yes, he is,” I stammered, “he’s telling me that this lot is private, and I can’t park there, and he’s saying if I pay him $65 then he’ll let me go, but he’s telling me I have to pay him in cash, and I think this is all totally sketchy, but I just want my car back…”

I probably sounded—and looked—like a total nut. 

The man—who was perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s, short, wearing a t-shirt on a cold night, and carrying no groceries of his own—put his hand lightly on my coated arm and said, “No, no, lady, he can’t do that.  Don’t pay him.  Look—he’s already taken your car off the rig.  You just go out there and get back in your car.  Don’t pay him a cent, you hear?”

I stood, in the doorway, hesitating, as this random but perfectly polite man walked through the automatic doors.  He waved his hand for me to follow. 

“Come on—I’ll walk to the car with you,” he continued, “and you just get in, understand?  Tell him the ATM is broken or something.  He can’t tow you—he’s not even allowed to try and get money off of you!”

Part of me felt like a scared and helpless little girl.  I could almost hear, in my head, my small, child-like voice saying, “Okay, sir.  Thanks for taking care of me. Thanks a whole bunch!”  And another part of me, the wary, nearly 30-year-old woman, was saying, “Uhhh…who is this guy?  Is he going to try to steal the $80 he just saw me take out?  Is he going to follow me once I get into my car?  Should I listen to him?”

At this point, we had reached my car.  The man beside me was keeping his distance but was also gabbing away, like we were old friends—I don’t even know what he was talking about.  The tow guy was standing at least 15 or 20 feet away from my car, talking on his cell phone, his back partially to me.  My new friend/knight-in-shining-armor whispered to me, “See?  He’s not even paying attention.”

And then he proceeded to open my car door for me.  And he waved at the tow guy and yelled, “The ATM is broke, man!  You shouldn’t be trying to tow this nice lady!  Get outta here!”

And as the tow guy began to lumber forward, the man from the grocery store said, very loudly, “So good seeing you, honey—now you better call me this evening, okay?  I want to make sure you got home good and safe, you hear?  I’m standin’ right here until you get on your way.”

I could have kissed him, this short, t-shirted, and totally random man.

Safe in my car, with the doors locked and my heart absolutely racing, I burned rubber pulling out of that parking lot.  As I sped down the side street, I passed the man, who was looking for me, who grinned and waved and gave me a cheery thumbs up sign, before I turned the corner and was gone.

Now, yes, of course, a small part of me feels badly for not paying the tow guy. Another small part of me can’t believe I had the gall to pull out of that parking lot.  A much bigger part of me hopes that the tow guy doesn’t have my plate number or that I don’t receive some bill for $65. 

But, most of me is overwhelmingly humored by the whole situation. 

Because I don’t pull the damsel in distress card often. 

And because I take pride in taking care of myself.

Let’s face it, though.  Male or female, single or married, young or old—we all get ourselves into situations of distress.

And, sometimes, humanity surprises you.  Sometimes, you just need a little help getting yourself home.

86 responses to “That time I played the part of damsel in distress!

  1. And part of you doesn´t want to meet that nice man again who helped? :)
    I´m sure you could totally write this up as short story or turn it into an article and have it published….:) (ok, it IS published now on you blog, but maybe somewhere else too, in a woman´s mag with the title “How to take care of yourself…?” smth like that…lol

    Aww, thanks, Sylvia! It was quite an interesting end to a very banal Monday, that’s for sure!

  2. i would have been nutty about this whole situation too! the thing is, i’m niave about this stuff- i didn’t know that the tow guy can’t just ask for the money from you. i DO think it’s sketchy that he would only take cash, but like you, if handing over $65 would have given me my wheels back and gotten me home safe and sound, hell yes i would have done it.
    sounds like you met a nice stranger at the right time!

    I know—I can be so naive about this kind of stuff, too. But when someone is pretty much holding your car hostage, $65 seemed like a very, very small price to pay!

  3. I love this story. It doesn’t matter that you might have been a damsel- you’re a human being. We should all try to be those angels in disguise for one another.

    EXACTLY. Although…in recounting the story to my coworker this morning, we both agreed that this scenario probably never would have happened if I’d come out of the store and been a man. Ah well.

  4. As much as we women like to feel all strong and independent, you have to know it’s also got to be really nice for a man to feel a little extra manly the day he gets to help out a damsel in distress.

    Um, totally! We all like to feel as though we helped someone, though, right??

  5. Holy Cow that was some event! Who was that guy? Totally a gent in my book.

    Yes, very much a gent in my book, too.

  6. I’d have a total hero-crush on the guy who helped me out.

    And because I am the daughter of a police officer, I would call the police department to report the strange incident. If you have the name of the towing company you should report them and find out if, in fact, the parking lot really was a private lot in which you cannot park.

    When I was telling the story to my father this morning, he said the same thing—that I could have called the police at any point to verify that the guy was coming from a legit towing company and wasn’t robbing me blind of my $65. Believe me, I will remember this for the future!!!

  7. Love this. We’ve all been there. I like to think this is the trade-off for being a woman: I can be strong and capable OR use my femininity to get a free drink, sweet talk my way out of a situation, etc. Men can use their “power” to be a bit more heavy-handed in situations like these.

    Also: I had something similar happen to me, but I arrived just BEFORE they put me on the truck. I simply got in my car, backed out and drove away. The tow man was none to pleased, but whatever! It’s expensive getting your car out!

    Honestly? The idea of just getting in my car and driving away had never even occurred to me! But I do think the two guy was trying to scam me, so I’m glad I didn’t give him a cent. And, yes, I’m glad a good Samaritan (albiet, a male one) was there to help me out.

  8. While I don’t envy you the experience, it’s always nice to hear about people helping each other!

    Right?? I needed a little reminder of the good out there in the world.

  9. hahahahha! stories like these make me laugh myself to the ground (and make me keep coming back to your blog).

    i’m also laughing because uh, i’ve pulled the bat-the-lashes card in times of need for many reasons, not to take advantage or be mean, but mainly to save myself :) it helps that i literally look like a child in certain lighting, but that reaaallly isn’t my fault. that’s just genetics.

    and who’s to say that the sketchy $65-demanding tow guy wasn’t taking advantage of you? we do what we can to get what we need, as long as we’re not hurting anyone.

    thx for the laugh!

    I think all women can claim they’ve batted their eyelashes a time or two… :) But, honestly? I’m not one to refuse help—especially when I actually do need it.

  10. Wow…reminds me of the time I had to pay $80 in cash (thank GOD I had it) to the “chain monkeys” to chain up my car heading over the pass. Who carries cash, anyhow? But this was something I HAD to do, considering police were checking every car to ensure they had chains.

    But you did the right thing here, and I’m glad you ran into random man who helped! ;)

    Thanks for stopping by, Mikalee!! And where the heck do you live that you get ticketed if you don’t have chains on your cars??? Yikes!!

  11. I can relate. I once stood in front of a gas station and pretended to not be able get the hood of my car open and a man came over and put the oil in for me. (I didn’t want to get dirty.)

    I find that men at gas stations are more than helpful to us ladies. And thank God for that!

  12. That towtruck driver was completely shady.
    I too consider myself a capable and self-sufficient woman and I could completely identify with how you were feeling in the situation. I have found myself in situations that really test me in that sense. I have also learned to accept help when it is offered (not always easy for me).
    What a gentleman. It is reassuring to know that there are some good strangers among us.

    I know—that was my thought exactly. It was nice to be reminded/reassured that good, helpful people are out there and aren’t asking for anything in return for their help. Thanks for visiting, lady!

  13. That is a great story. Tow truck drivers are notorious sharks – you should definitely follow up to see if that driver was overreaching his authority. If the lot truly is private and restricted, there should be signs to indicate the restriction.

    Thanks! I don’t know if I’ll be checking the lot to see if there are signs up though. I will most likely NEVER go there again, thankyouverymuch! :)

  14. Loved your story and glad it had a happy ending. I’ve cringed in moments when I’ve found myself as that damsel in distress. In these instances I’ll pull a Jedi mind trick and remind myself that it takes strength to receive help. You let the ‘knight’ help you and he got to succeed with a thumbs up. Then we all got gifted with your great story. Giving, receiving. It’s a human thing. Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks, Jessica. Such a lovely comment. “Giving, receiving—it’s a human thing.” I like this. I like it very, very much.

  15. My parents also raised me to be an independent, self-reliable woman, however, I have recently discovered that when I get in sticky situations like the one you are speaking of, I burst into tears. I don’t even feel it coming on, it just happens, and I can’t avoid the tears without seriously distorting my facial expressions, making it look like I have horrible indigestion, or something, and I’d much rather cry than have someone think I have bad gas. Anyway, I’m glad you were rescued, but I do wonder how the tow-truck man did all of that in 10 or 15 minutes..he must have been waiting for someone to park there!

    Ha! Well, believe me, the urge to burst into tears was there, and if that guy hadn’t intervened, I probably would have had a total meltdown in the parking lot as I handed over my $65. Thankfully, crying disaster was averted. :)

  16. That guy who helped you is a sweetheart! Nothing wrong with playing the damsel in distress from time to time…

    Such a sweetheart. In hindsight, I should have at least shook his hand or asked for his name!

  17. Aw! I love how random acts of kindness can be so helpful. Wonderful blog!

    I know—it’s been awhile since I was party to such a random act of kindness. It was definitely most appreciated! And thanks so much for the kind words about my blog. :)

  18. Good story and a nice ending! Glad it all worked out for you. I wonder if those two had more of a confrontation after you left.

    Ooooh, that would be an interesting twist to add onto the end of this… Great idea, actually. Thanks!

  19. A great read. Glad it worked out for you! :)

    Thank you, and thank you, Darlene!

  20. bluecloverbelle

    What a great story! I’m glad there are still decent human beings out there who help you out of the kindness of their heart!

    My thoughts exactly! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  21. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVE this post! I believe that car issues are always a blessing in disguise… or that miracles are always lurking all around car troubles. I don’t know you at all, but it sounds like the universe had something; a gift perhaps to maybe give you for some karmic good deeds… or maybe (because I too am pretty independent… so maybe I am projecting), just maybe it was a sign for you to see that you don’t always have to do it on your own…

    Really, this was a beautiful story as I am always on a quest to see the day to day miracles of life which highlight the inherent beauty of the human spirit… I laughed, I tensed up in anger at that guy trying to take money from you and I had goosebumps by the end of the story.

    I never post my blog when commenting, but there are a series of two stories that you may enjoy along the same lines from my life:

    Well, I’ll just post one.

    Anyway, thank you and I hope you have a lovely day!

    My, what a kind comment! Thank you, Currie! I will be sure to stop by and check out the above post. :)

  22. Sometimes angels appear out of nowhere to help us out. Great story and congrats on being freshly pressed.

    Thank you! I didn’t even know what “freshly pressed” was until today. Sheesh. :)

  23. Great story. I think there needs to be a sign, if there is danger of being towed.

    Agreed. And I assure you, there was no sign. At least, not that I could see.

  24. Great post! I wish there were more people like your good Samaritan.

    Me, too, Shreya!

  25. Great story! Glad you got out of there – that guy sounded like a creep. He definitely shouldn’t have asked for cash. Nice of the cashier to look out for you! Nothing wrong with taking some help from a stranger!

    Thanks for stopping by, Catherine, and for commenting. I think I might start taking help from random strangers more often!

  26. I will try and remember your story Hannah next time some sort of muckery like that happens to me, and I know it will, it does everyday!



    “Muckery”—such an awesome word. I will wander my way over to your corner of the world to read about all this daily muckery! :)

  27. I love this story, Hannah! It was like you’d encountered a pure protagonist and an antagonist. You had the good and the bad right in front of you. Good for you for driving away!

    So true—I’d never even thought of it like that, Lady J!

  28. Great retelling. It’s always good to have a little reminder about the occasional need to let someone help us on the way home.

    Thanks! I had great fun doing the retelling, too. ;)

  29. you made a somewhat mundane story (only cause we’ve all read or heard something so similar many times) jump off the page and come alive. really well written!

    Wow—thank you! I really, really appreciate that.

  30. First off…if you’re single, GO BACK AND FIND THAT GUY!!!

    Secondly, what a great story to get into the holiday mood. I love what random acts of kindness can suddenly land in your path. Someone was looking out for you that day! Congrats on FP! Well deserved!

    Aunt Bethany… Ahhh, classic. Firstly, I KNOW! I WILL! Secondly, it’s easy to underestimate or completely forget about random acts of kindness…until you are on the receiving end of one. I’m now on a mission to pay it forward!

  31. I’ve pulled the bursting into tears trick and it worked! Of course, I was five years old at the time. I thought the guy writing my mom a parking ticket was going to take her to jail, so I promptly began crying and threatening the guy in every way I knew how.

    Great story, BTW. I think it’s okay to be a damsel in distress once in a great while, especially when it gives somebody else (man or woman) a chance to do a good deed. :)

    I’ve found the bursting into tears trick almost always works. :) But this time it wasn’t even necessary—because a good Samaritan helped me out instead. Ain’t life grand?!

  32. I think I fell in love with this mysterious knight in shining armor. I agree with auntbethany: go back and find him!!

    This story made me smile. :)

    And your comment—your comment made me smile and smile. Thank you!

  33. Gee, I see that you’ve read my posting and thus checked out my blog, but refused to clear it. Certainly that is your prerogative, but I find it quite funny and telling that every single response on this thread is offering a positive response – to you. I have yet to see a single response critiquing you or giving a balanced assessment of the story as you have laid it out. Afraid of negative criticism? Don’t like facing other viewpoints?

    No, not afraid—just not exactly interested, particularly in regard to this post, which is meant as a humorous and light-hearted retelling. Obviously, two sides exist to every story/argument—you just so happened to be the only one to present that other side in this case. I find it interesting that you cared enough to come back a second time (and many more times beyond that) to revisit a post you clearly didn’t enjoy or agree with. But, no matter. I appreciate the visit; I respect your position; I choose to leave your previous comment unposted. Thanks.

  34. Nice post! My heart was totally pounding reading your story. I mean really… you don’t know how you’d act till you find yourself in that situation. Good to hear you got out this ordeal safe and sound :)

    It’s so true. As I’ve retold the story throughout the day, I’ve had people make suggestions of things I could have said or done—and all of that sounded great. In hindsight. But, then, there, in that moment?? Totally different story!

  35. OMG! 33 comments? I haven’t read this yet, but just had to share my marvel-ment (you know, the state of marvelling at 33! comments). I bet this is a goodie…

    “Marvel-ment”—might be my new favorite word. :)

  36. Wow, I loved this story. It makes me think of how as much as we pride ourselves as being independent, we really do need one another. I remember when I ran out of gas (story of my life) and a trucker pulled over on the other side of the interstate. He was old, and to be honest really scary looking, and crossed both highways to help me. Then he went to the nearest store for me and the attendant came and filled me up enough to make it to the next station. When I asked how much I owed, the lady said “that guy paid for it.” It was such a kind act.

    Wow… That is a true random act of kindness. Thanks for sharing! And for stopping by! :)

  37. If this were a movie, you will start seeing the random, kind stranger in all sorts of places, when you need help … you get locked out of your apartment, your car breaks down, you spill coffee and he’s there to help clean you off, and then you fall in love! I’m picturing Eric Bana as the tall, handsome lead man.

    And I’ll admit it, I’ve cried my way out of speeding tickets before.
    LOVE the post!! I hope the story continues with the helpful stranger, but only because I’m a hopeless romantic.

    This comment is ADORABLE. The hopeless romantic in me absolutely loves you for it! Almost as much as I would love Eric Bana playing the tall and handsome lead man in my life… :)

  38. Love this story!!!!
    I too, consider myself a pretty self-reliant young woman. Except when anything goes wrong with my car. Then I freak out.
    About a year ago, I parked for literally about two minutes outside of Qdoba (totally gross, bu a guilty pleasure) to grab a burrito. When I got back in my car, it wouldn’t start. The battery had just died, and I knew there wasn’t any use in trying to jump start it.
    As I was standing outside of my car, on my phone with a friend who was going to come and pick me up to purchase a new battery for my car, I noticed an elderly couple walking out of the deli next door, giving my sympathetic smiles as they got into their car.
    My friend who was coming to get me was stuck in traffic, so I stood there for about thirty minutes.
    Then, a car pulled up. It was the elderly couple I had seen earlier, but now they had a another man with them. This middle aged man got out of the backseat carrying a brand new car battery, one that was perfectly compatable for my Jeep!
    The old lady said to me, “I just felt so bad to see a pretty young girl like you stranded out here all alone. This is our son, he owns the Auto Part store down the street. We told him the kind of car you have, and he had the right battery.”
    I was SHOCKED. This man did all of the work switching out the batteries for me, and then REFUSED to except any payment for it! I think he enjoyed the fact that his parents wanted to help out a poor little stranded girl in the Qdoba parking lot. :)

    WOW!! You win! Now THAT is one heck of a story!! Please tell me you got HIS number! :)

  39. Great story! I’ll admit I sometimes look down on women who will play the damsel role constantly to get what they want. But you didn’t do that at all! Like other commenters have said, there’s nothing wrong with being on the giving or receiving end of helping someone out. Wouldn’t it be cool if your mysterious gent is also a blogger and happens to find this on Freshly Pressed? Now there’s a good movie plot.

    Hahaha… I love all of these “maybe this will happen next…” scenarios. What great fodder for future fictional posts! :)

  40. That guy is awesome. Just awesome.

    Agreed. Totally agree.

  41. whew. a happy ending. i had a guy do something like that for me once in a similar situation, with a similar resolution. it’s enough to kinda restore your faith in humanity.

    and there’s a special place in hell for shakedown artists like the tow truck driver. seriously.

    Um, last night totally restored my faith in humanity! But, I can be a sap like that.

  42. Besides loving that you embrace both your fighter and frightened selves in this instance, I just enjoy the writing itself: engaging voice that I want to hear more from and comfortable style that makes me as a reader feel like I too am coming home. Thanks for helping me get there.

    Such a kind and complimentary comment. Thank you, Kathryn. Thank you very much!

  43. I found you on Freshly pressed, first off congrats :). Second such an entertaining story. How great was it for that man to help you like that?! I often find myself in situations where I feel bullied by someone into listening to them, when there is this nagging feeling that something just doesn’t seem legit or fair. I try to stand up for myself but that doesn’t work all the time, especially if there is the slightest uncertainty that you are indeed correct. Sounds like that man was your guardian angel :)

  44. After Currie Rose’s comment, I checked out her blog, and I shared this with her, as I will do with you—a great video about the importance of vulnerability:

  45. I’m so sorry you found yourself in this situation but I have to say that it gave me some faith in people again today. Humanity still exists! But seriously, kudos to you for talking to that man and trying to stand your ground – I don’t know that I would’ve been able to do the same!

  46. What a great story. I agree, you could publish this in a women’s magazine! This is a wonderful example of how writing about our everyday experiences impacts the lives of others. I’ll be thinking about your story for a while. :)

  47. OMG, Hannah. I love your post, and I love that you got 45 replies! You touched a nerve! Or is it that you connected with a very common part of our experiences? Nicely done–great story.

  48. The story is very interesting. I have played a damsel in distress a few times in my own life when nothing else would work. I had to swallow my pride, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m generally thought of as a very capable, strong woman, and I think people who know me would be shocked if they’d ever seen me play such a part.

    I am astonished you “feel badly” for not paying the tow truck guy. This was a SCAM. Would you feel guilty for not paying the Nigerian who contacted you via email and asked you to send $1,000 to their account in order to get $100,000 in insurance money that they promise to send back? If you had had the composure, what you (or your knight) should have done was jot down the name of the towntruck company, the phone # (if it was on the truck), called the company, given them a piece of your mind, then called the police, as well. What he is doing is nothing short of robbery.

    I understand your dilemma (re: the damsel mode), but want to assure you that you did the right thing. Sometimes a situation presents itself and you have to go with the flow, which you did. I’d call your knight a godsend, and I’d call that towtruck driver a dishonest thief who preys on single women.

  49. That tow guy sounded pretty sketchy to me too. There’s nothing quite like the kindness of strangers. :)

  50. He sounds like a really nice guy. Don’t feel sorry for the tow guy. There are so many operating illegally in the UK thay they are on TV all the time. Some clamped a nurse who was out on an emergency call with a permit and wouldn’t release her car all day. Shockers! Glad it worked out well for you.

  51. I’m so glad you were Freshly Pressed so I (and others) got a chance to read your retelling of everyday-gone-bad-ending-happily. I love a lot of the comments too. It’s so true that we all need to learn how to be strong and accept help.
    PS: In my parts some tow truck drivers really do only accept cash, but I figure its legit when I called them to pick up my broken car. I can be naive too, and would probably be wondering the same things you were.

  52. It would be like totally amazing if the guy who helped you had a wordpress blog and saw your FP blog and was like “hey that was me that helped you!” I mean that would be really cool! Was the guy who helped cute? lol. Congrats on being FP!

  53. This is cute, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing the damsel card every once in a while. If guys can play the I’m-a-dumb-guy-derp-derp-derp card when they get caught not taking out the trash, we ladies have to have something up our sleeves too. (I kid, I kid.) But this is a cute little story. :)

  54. Quite a story. I agree with Lindsay, I wonder about the tow guy, especially if there wasn’t a sign. As for the stranger, we all need a little help every so often. It’s always uplifting to hear about someone who’s willing to go out of their way to be nice.

  55. Great post! I love kind strangers.

    – Viola –

  56. Haha! This is awesome. I’m much like you, I hate feeling like I need help… but sometimes everyone needs a hand!
    Great blog, congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  57. Nice one, seems like a good character – I guess he shall remain a stranger

  58. well God works in mysterious ways, your guardian angel was certainly looking out for you that day.

  59. Glad to hear your story had a happy ending. It’s always nice to see stories of “random acts of kindness” by others, in a world that seems to be more and more about all the atrocities mankind inflicts on each other. Nice to know there ARE kind people out there after all :)

  60. snoringdogstudio

    You were very brave, I’d say. And I don’t think you were acting like a damsel at all! Heck, a lot of men would have behaved in a far less productive way and probably have gotten slugged for it. Always rely on the kindness of strangers – keeping one eye on your purse, though. I am so glad this turned out alright for you.

  61. Goodness wins again!!! I was reading your story and feeling your nervousness and shivers as I relived the moment with you. It’s wonderful to be able to sigh the “My Hero…” every so often. I would consider myself an edgy girl who takes pride in making jerks cry… but in moments when I lose and I’m the one in tears, there is nothing more refreshing than the kindness of a stranger. Here’s to kind strangers! May the world be blessed with more of them!!! :)

  62. I love this! I was so happy to find this on Freshly Pressed, and so happy to hear of the chivalrous outcome. Great writing — I’ll check back often. :)

  63. iminlovecreativity

    I can’t believe you feel guilty for not giving the guy the money! It’s SO OBVIOUS he was working for himself.
    Nice story!!

  64. Holy effing TON of comments!

    But anyways. I love this story!!! Sometimes we all need a little help from a big strong guy ;)

  65. this post inspires me to write about my own getting-towed-while-i-stand-feeling-helpless moment!
    except i had no knight in tee shirt coming to my rescue :(
    you can’t imagine how pleased i am that you got away without paying! these people are such extortionists.
    someone commented that it’s very human to give and to receive….such a lovely thought when you stop to think about it. when we grow up trained to be self-sufficient, it makes it that much harder to let down our barriers (and our pride) to accept help from anyone.
    i love that rush of gratitude (it’s almost like love!) that follows random acts of kindness, esp when we’re feeling vulnerable :)
    very enjoyable read. glad you got yourself FP’ed!

  66. Shanna VanNorman

    Strong woman = beautiful woman. As my mother’s daughter, I realize that beauty does come from the choices we make in life.

    My recent inspiration to follow what I love in life has inspired me to write a blog:

    Please take the quiz and find out what your fears are, be it fear of success or fear of failure. We all were meant to shine as children do, so let your light shine.

    Thanks for the splendid read, I’ll be a fan yes indeed.

    Much love — Shan

  67. How sad is it that I started out thinking the second guy was in cahoots with the tow truck driver! What a relief that he turned out to be the ‘anti-tow truck driver-guy’!! Yay him! Just watched ‘pay it forward’ again last week. Now is your chance and afterward you can share the story with all of your new fans:)

  68. Why are you guilty for not paying the guy?
    Corruption prevails. Ah.
    And it sure is nice to be helped by a nice guy now and then, isn’t it? :)

  69. I think it’s great the guy was nice and helped you out. There is nothing to be ashamed about in being human and needing a little assistance. We should all help each other out when we can.

  70. A Damsel in Success more likely. Oh joy to kindly strangers…i would’ve taken him home.

  71. This has actually brought tears to my eyes, I love this! I am very similar to you; strong, independant female who, when bullied, it wipes the floor from under me because IT SHOULDN’T HAPPEN TO ME and I SHOULD KNOW WHAT TO DO! Someone looked after you that day because you always look after yourself, next time, I am sure you will help someone who looks like they need a hand. Burn that rubber girl, thanks for sharing.

  72. Don’t feel guilty. This sounds like something that happened to me recently. I’m glad you were able to go without having to pay anyone anything, and thank goodness for that random man. I don’t think you were a damsel in distress, I think you were a person in distress. Like you said, male or female, we all get in distress sometimes.

  73. Oh what a great story! So glad there was someone to help you, and that you let him :) maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all!

  74. I’m really glad you didn’t give the guy any money. If that ever happens again you should ask for his details and call the police to check them. Well done to the stranger for looking out for a girl on her own, it’s nice to see that still happens! Congrats on being FPd :)

  75. When you need help…take the help. Being a strong, confident woman is great. It’s what I consider myself to be and what I teach to my daughter. We are “do-it-yourselfers” for sure. But I would never turn down help if needed. It was good that you were cautious about even taking the help–questioning whether this guy was going to rob you or was part of a team with the tow-truck guy. But you made the right decision, luckily, in accepting the help from this stranger.

    That tow truck guy was scum, so I agree that you should in no way feel guilty for not paying him.

    Now, two things: 1) Never park in that side lot again. It’s better to walk a little distance in the correct parking lot then take chances like that again, and 2) If you really want to find out who that fabulous guy was that came to your rescue (who cares if he’s short, he sure helped take care of you!), keep going back to that grocery store as often as you can–he obviously shops there, too!

  76. I absolutely love your post! That is an awesome story — I really hope you bump into that guy again, assuming you don’t already have a significant other. :) And I really think that tow truck driver was trying to rip you off — what a jerk!

  77. Great story. Towing companies are beneath contempt, but how wonderful that someone cared. I, myself, have used the Damsel-in-Distress wild card on several occasions, with great results. Towing company slugs aside, there are some caring folks out there. Many congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  78. What a great story! I loved reading it! Congratulations on FP!

  79. I’m going to disagree that you were a damsel in distress here. The frustration you felt was something that most (if not all) people would feel in this situation. The difference between the individuals experiencing this same event is in how they would have handled it.

    Even as a guy my initial response would have been anger, frustration, and eventual compliance to paying the guy just to avoid the extra expense and inconvenince of having to pick up my car from a lot. BTW, the extra fees that you would have had to have paid would have been outrageous! I’m also not ashamed to admit that the frustration that I would have felt would have brought tears to my eyes as well. You see, I have this overdeveloped sense of respect for authority (um, thanks Mom and Dad) that would have forced me to have complied with the tow truck owner’s position, which in this case was the apparent authority figure. The frustration in feeling that way would have made well up. How you handled that part of this event was not a weak thing, it was out of respect for the faux authority that he projected.

    As for the man who helped you out…well, sometimes strangers are capable of doing nice things. Maybe it was because you are a woman, maybe it was because he saw a person in need of “clarification” of the situation, or maybe it was an opportunity to do soemthing right. Whatever the case here you were not helpless. But you were definitely taken advantage of. I believe that the assistance from the stranger was not an attempt to initiate romance, but an honest attempt to be kind. I think that way because I’ve been told that I am that guy.

    Great post! And stay away from private lots!

  80. One more thing (even after I threw up a ton of words on your page). The tow truck guy wasn’t taking advantage of you being a woman. Guys like that hawk over private lots as a means to make money. It’s lame, it’s immoral, and it’s part of being an advantageous individual. Shame on people like him.

  81. Pingback: That time I played the part of damsel in distress! (via Hannah, just breathe…) « away and forever

  82. You know what bothers me the most… that this tow truck guy totally thought he can pull this thing on you. I am not sure he would have tried it if you’d been a guy!

    I love the fact that you were helped by a total stranger. So random… and so nice!

  83. Great post; I also happen to think you were not playing a part .. rather an opportunistic person preyed upon you. Kudos to the helpful stranger and congrats to you being freshly pressed! Glad it all worked out ok :)

  84. Great story and post. Congrats on getting freshly pressed!

  85. have to add my 2cents :D (or is it 2 pesos? haha)

    love the story!!
    I love how the guy was totally acting like you were a couple so the guy would leave you alone. I would have totally fallen for him and think he was the ONE and then have all his babies and tell my kids the love story of how we met…

    ok, maybe not. but it would flash in my mind for 15 seconds and then I’d let go and go about the rest of my day/week/month/year/life.

  86. What a sweet sweet man!

    You’ve got good karma in your bank, and he certainly earned some major positive brownie karma points :)

    Glad you’re safe and ok!

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