An MEA narrative: the good samaritan

Matthew Egger, copy editor

After completing a ski training camp in northern Wisconsin over MEA break, I was preparing to make the three hour journey back home to Minneapolis. I hopped into my Subaru and started it up. I saw on my fuel gauge that I only had 80 miles until empty. I planned on stopping at a gas station that was 85 miles away. Recalling that my car typically has 20-30 miles of range beyond “empty”, I told myself that the ole Subie will comfortably make it to the gas station.

The drive was very pleasant; the foliage was at peak color, and I was so invigorated by the peaceful solitude that the energy drink that I bought remained unnecessary to prevent me from nodding off. I glanced out the window as cranberry farms rolled by and listened half-attentively to a podcast about the Pony Express mail delivery system. Passing through the small town of Siren, I asked myself whether or not to stop for gas to play it safe. I decided against, for the gas station I had been planning to stop at was only 15 miles away, and doubled as a dairy creamery where I could buy a malt as I filled up.

My fuel gauge now marked zero miles until empty.

About a quarter of a mile away from the gas station I was planning on stopping at, the Subaru began to putter, and the rotations-per-minute fell from 2,000 to 1,500, to a measly 1,000, where I knew fate had struck. I was 200 meters away from the gas station and had run out of gas. Cursing my luck, I pulled off the side of the road, grabbed a gallon water jug I had thankfully purchased on the way to Wisconsin, and began walking to the gas station. Stepping up to the pump, I inserted my credit card, horrified to see that my card wasn’t reading. I frantically swiped it at least a dozen times, beginning to panic. The gas station was closed, so there were no attendants around to assist me. I debated what to do; I could ask a stranger for help, or keep swiping the card, desperately hoping that it would eventually read. I opted for the latter, and thankfully, it worked. My card was finally accepted, and I filled the jug with precious gasoline.

Walking back to my car, I realized that the next challenge would be creating some type of funnel from paper, a school folder, or whatever else was in my car in order to actually fill the tank. Peeking into my car, I no options. I looked over at a house near where I had stalled out, seeing a gruff-looking, bearded man smoking a cigarette and grilling meat. Busch Light cans were littered across his patio. Our eyes met, and somehow, he instantly knew what I had needed. He said nothing but waved me over into his garage. I awkwardly walked over, and said, “Is there any chance I could borrow a funnel?” He obliged, handing me one. I was in luck.

Returning to my car, finally feeling some sense of relief, I inserted the funnel and poured the gas in. I snapped the tank shut, got in my car, and drove back to the gas station to completely fill the tank. I drove the remainder of the journey home with an immeasurable gratitude to my good samaritan.