Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Roadside Assistance

It was 0910, yesterday morning. I was on my way to a meeting in Washington, DC, and I only had 20 minutes to get there.

I left my office, and proceeded to the express lanes of I-395 and made great use of the Interceptor engine in my Crown Victoria.

By 0915 I was cresting the ridge, in Arlington, Virginia that gives you the first view of Washington, DC (and that annoying new Air Force memorial), I usually love that first view of the city, but today?... not so much. I don't love it so much today, because I am cutting it a bit close to get there on time. It isn't as if I had anything to add at the meeting, I hate meetings with a passion, but I hate being late for things.

As I was about to cross the 14th street bridge, into DC, I noticed a red Honda sports car pulling onto the median (This was right between the pentagon and the Crystal City Marriott Residence Inn).

"Shit!", I said aloud, as I turned on my emergency lights, crossed two lanes of traffic and pulled over to render assistance. I really wasn't in the mood to to play roadside assistance guy, but, I'm a helper... that's just how I roll.

By the time I pulled over and backed up, the driver, a young woman of about thirty, exited the car and began running to me. I hopped out and asked what the problem was: She said to me (with a Zsa Zsa Gabor accent) "My car, my car! Oh the noise it makes! Here are my keys police-man. Listen to the noise!" I gave her the keys back and she told me the she had had the same problem once before.

Not knowing much about cars, I told her she needed to call a tow truck, but if she couldn't, I could call one for her. She used my phone to call for a tow truck (and to call her office to say she wouldn't be in today, and to call her mother to tell her what had happened). In between phone calls she asked me how old I am and told me that I am the first black police officer she had ever met (turns out she is Romanian).


I figured that this would be a good time for me to mosey away from her while she finished securing the pick-up of her car, so I took out my old digital camera, which I keep for times like this, when I think: "Hey! This would good for my blog!", and snapped a few pictures. By the way, the building that you can see in the distance, beyond her car, is the Navy Annex... on 9/11, the Pentagon plane flew very close to the rooftop of that building. At that time, one of Soccergirl's Godparents was working there, she said that it was VERY, VERY loud.

OK, Zsa Zsa finally gets the tow truck arranged, so I gave her some safety advice and excused myself as quickly as I could and left her to wait... but not before she tried to give me her business card.

I missed the meeting.

Here are a couple of different views from where I was standing while assisting this young woman:

This is the Pentagon, where I used to work (I am so glad that I no longer work for the Department of Defense)... for all of you conspiracy crackpots out there, the Israeli missile crashed into the building from your left, a wall you can't see from my vantage point in this photo.

Have any of you ever taken the Pentagon tour? If you ever get the chance, you should do it... even if it is just because the tour guide does the whole thing while walking backwards.

In this photo, you have a government office building ( I think it belongs to DOJ) on your left, in the center you see Macy's, which is one of the anchor stores of Pentagon City mall, beyond the mall you see innocuous high rises.

...and no, I didn't take her card.


Jodi said...

Sorry to give you a hard time, that's not DOJ. I used to work there. DOJ is on 11th and G. I have no idea what that is.

Good story, nonetheless.

Gunfighter said...

Pssst! is part of DOJ, Jodi... I just didn't want to mention which part.

Zanne said...

Nothing is your world is ever dull, is it Mr. Adorable? ;)

Gunfighter said...

No, not really, Zanne.

I am seldom bored.

DangerDoll said...

{in Zsa Zsa accent}
Well aren't you the nice man! Why yes, Meester Gunfighter, you are the nice man!

Hee. My husband always, always stops if he sees it's a female (his credo is that men should be able to take care of themselves...but you never know if the woman may have a baby in the car.) He's had every reaction: hugs, offers of cash (always declined), windows rolled up in his face, ladies who take off without saying thanks, ladies who tell him how lucky his wife is...

DJ Black Adam said...

Man, it is good to see a police officer HELP someone. I see people on the road (women, and women with children) all the time and the ISP (Illinois State Police) just cruise on by.

BTW GF, I am thinking of becoming a county sheriff's deputy, wish me luck.

the only daughter said...

You didn't take the card-why? Did you happen to notice the nature of zsa zsa's business?

Gunfighter said...


Helping is what we usually do... but unless a person is directly being served, most people never see that side of things.


No, I didn't take her card... even if I was single, it would have been inappropriate. As for her occupation, she does some sort of computer work for a geovernment agency here in the city.

Lawyer Mama said...

I know what's in that building....

I used to work at the Pentagon too. A bit to the right of the area where the aforementioned "Israeli missile" impacted, so towards the front in your picture. Love the Pentagon tour. We used to spoof it at work all the time. (And you never know when you're going to need to know exactly how many water fountains there are in the Pentagon.) I've always had a secret desire to rollerblade through the corridors....

I had somehow forgotten about the Summer D.C. smog....

Desert Songbird said...

You're a good man, Charlie Brown. And I'll be you cut quite a strapping figure in your uniform, Mr. Police-Man.


Whiskeymarie said...

At least you had photographic evidence for why you were late!

Zsa Zsa should probably get a new car if she's that incapable of dealing with car issues.

Hahn at Home said...

I don't know why this post tickled me so much..the annoyed, but good-to-your-core thing. You even sound (via written word) like my friend since childhood sounds on his blog "that's the way I roll, baby."

Cop's kid says, "Very nice."

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

chuckle chuckle :-)

soccer mom in denial said...

So one thing really bothered me and another intrigued me.

1. You were the first black cop she had seen? Why did she say that? Did you reply she was the first incompentant Romanian driver you had ever met (if she was)?

2. What car were you driving? I didn't think your agency/employer used such standard-issue police cars.

jennifer said...

nothing like relying on the kindness of strangers... Good thing that stranger was you :-)

Gunfighter said...


I think she was just saying what came to her mnd. I am certainly not the first black officer she had ever seen, just the first she ever met.

Maybe she was trying to overcome some discomfort, I don't know, really. She was certainly glad to see me, though. I suspect it was a clumsily delivered ice-breaker.

Anyway, I'll explain the rest in an email. K?


You know how it is here in the summer... hot and hazy. Wicked hot and wicked hazy.

Brillig said...

Wo. Never a dull moment when there's a Gunfighter around, huh? Wowzers. I love that you were a tourist attraction for her: "I've never seen a black policeman before!" hahahaha. You KNOW she's emailing her friends about it right this moment.

P.S. Great pics, and I love the bits of history strewn in too!

Fourier Analyst said...

I knew it! GF your secret is now out, you are a super-hero! I have not yet sussed out your secret super-skills, but I am having a blast imagining the kilt as part of the official super-outfit! Seriously, I want to extend my thanks to you on behalf of all "damsels in distress". It is comforting to know that there still are people out there willing to help. (I know, here's the part where you say "Shucks ma'am, just doin' my job.")

Small question, I guess I've been out of the US too long, but what is the reference about the "Israeli missile"? I guess it is some (lunatic) conspiracy theory or is there more to it?

WordsRock said...

You're a good man, GF!

Gunfighter said...


I think not. Just practicing a bit of the golden rule... or karma... or whatever you want to call it.

I have a wife, mother, grandmother, and daughters... it is my hope that should they ever find themselves in similar circumstances, that someone would disregard his/her potential lateness, and stop to help them.

DJ Black Adam said...


You are too humble. You seem to be a great Police Officer and human being. I agree with your reasoning for helping.

Gunfighter said...

Too humble? I wish. I try to be... but I suspect that I fail at it most of the time.

However humility is a thing to be worked at constantly. I give you the following:

"Unless you beomce as humble as the dust, you will never find truth"

M. Ghandi

...and this:

"For the Lord takes delight in his people, he crowns the humble with salvation"

Psalm 149:4

jessabean said...

Gunfighter saves the day again!

I won't make any po-po jokes, hee hee.

Ugh, Pentagon City...When I was moving, there were many apartments in the Pentagon/Crystal City area but I think that place has no soul. High rises and smog. Blegh!

super des said...

I know for a fact you are not the only black cop in the DC area, nor in any other city. She doesn't get out (and get in trouble) much.

Kateastrophe said...

Aww what a nice guy you are! My husband always stops and helps people on the side of the road. I think guys who do that are the absolute sweetest and I know if I was stranded I'd appreciate it SO much! The world needs more guys like that, in my opinion :D

flanok said...

It is a shame there are not more like you.


Roadside Assistance

Gunfighter said...

Thanks, Mark!