Everybody hates to pay too much for gas. My two cousins and I were no exception. We had just finished playing in a disc golf tournament near Rupert, Idaho and were heading back to Orem, Utah where we all roomed together as college students.
“I’m not paying $2.12 for a gallon of gas,” Devin said.
“Just go to the next station,” I said. “The next one is bound to be less.”
I don’t know why I remember the exact price, except for the fact that nowadays I’d drive clear across the country to go to a gas station that charged that price. Back then, though, $2.12 was breaking the bank all for some petrol.
In retrospect, well, that was obviously our mistake. If we had paid better attention as we drove to Rupert two days earlier, we would have obviously noticed that there were no gas stations for about 60 miles along that stretch of road. Not only were there no gas stations, but there isn’t anything at all but sagebrush along that stretch of dessert. And with 60 miles to go before finding a station and only 30 miles worth of gas, we found ourselves stuck out in the cold.
“This is about as far as we go,” Devin said as his Nissan Maxima coasted, coasted, coasted, and came to a stop.
We had seen that outcome coming for the last 15 minutes, but by then we knew that we wouldn’t have enough gas to turn around and go back to the $2.12 Shell station.
“Looks like we’re going to be thumbing a ride,” Trent said. “See if someone will stop.”
“I’ll stay here in the car,” Devin offered.
Devin reached under his seat and pulled out a small black box. He opened it up and pulled out a pistol.
“Do you always have that under your seat?” I wondered.
“No, but I do like to take it on trips just in case,” Devin said. “And I’ll feel a lot better sitting here alone in the desert at 11:00 at night with this thing than I would without it. Glad I brought it.”
So Trent and I went about trying to flag down a car. We tried everything, waving our arms, jumping up and down, showing a little leg, and nothing worked. The problem was that the reason there were no gas stations was because there weren’t very many cars- especially not late at night.
Finally, after about 20 minutes of failing to flag down a car, I saw some headlights about 2 miles away. From that distance there was nothing different about that headlights than any of the other ones we’d seen pass us by, but there was something different about them to me. There was something unique and that’s the main thing that makes this story interesting. I somehow knew that the car that would be approaching us in about 2 minutes would be the car that would stop and save us from freezing to death in the Idaho cold. I just knew it. I saw the lights get brighter and closer and brighter and closer and eventually the lights were right up on us and… if you guessed that the car pulled up next to us and saved the day, well, you were wrong. It just drove on past.
“Hmmm,” I thought. “I guess I was wrong.”
I wasn’t sure why I felt like that car was different than the others, but I did. Still, sixth sense or not, the car never even tapped on its brakes.
We went about our duties, waiting and hoping to flag someone down. Just then, though, I happened to turn around and saw some red tail lights. They belonged to the mysterious car that had just passed us by. The red lights turned off as the driver of the car let his foot off the brakes and began to back up. He was about half a mile down the road, so it took him a long time to reach us.
“What’s going on, guys?” the driver said once he was back with us.
I had heard all the doors lock as I approached the Suburban and the driver cracked open his window only about half an inch so that he could hear us talk. We explained our situation and within a short moment, he let down his defenses and we heard the locks pop open.
We rode in relative silence for the first 10 minutes as we journeyed toward the nearest gas station.
“Where are you guys going?” the driver finally asked.
“Orem,” Trent said. “Russ goes to BYU and I go to UVSC. “
“No kiddin’,” he said, dropping his mental defenses a little more. “We’re on our way to pick up my daughter from BYU.”
“Where do you guys live?” Trent asked.
“Emmett,” the driver said. “It’s just over the mountain from Boise.”
“We know where Emmett is,” Trent smiled. “Our parents grew up in Emmett.”
“Really?” he smiled. “What were their names?”
“My mom's name is Melanie," I said, adding to it her maiden name. "His dad's name is Clark."
Someone was looking out for us. Someone on the other side of life linked that man, who never stops for hitch hikers, to us. I was right, there was something about that pair of headlights that was different from the others.
“I went to school with your parents,” he said. “Clark was in my class.”