By Ronnie McBrayer
My family and I made a trip last summer to the Midwest. We stopped for lunch in the megalopolis of Carmi, Illinois, population 5,240. Most of these people must be scarecrows, because the only thing we saw there was a sandwich shop, a gas station, and cornfields.
While munching on sandwiches, our dog locked us out of our rental van. I tried to coax that little Shih Tzu over to the door locks for nearly an hour, but he was so enjoying the air conditioning, he wouldn’t budge. I went back inside the restaurant and told the sandwich-making lady that I needed a locksmith, knowing that one would probably have to come all the way from Peoria bearing a four-digit bill. She said, “I’ll call my friend, Rick. Trust me.” I cringed.
Rick showed up, walking out of the cornfields like Kevin Costner, and for $20 and the words, “Trust me” (There it was again!), had us in the van quicker than you can say “Carmi.” I kissed the sandwich maker, tipped Rick an extra $40, and we jumped back on the road with grateful laughter.
Then we had a tire blowout on the rental van in a place even more remote than Carmi. Our eight-hour joy drive devolved into a twenty-hour living hell, and frankly, I never want to see another Illinois cornfield again.
Still, it could have been worse. Where would my family and I have been without the sandwich maker who knew just who to call; without Rick, and his door-jimmying abilities; without the customer service rep at the rental agency who told me over the phone, “Trust me (Again!); it’s going to be okay”?
It would have been an even more rotten experience without the unknown, unnamed person who wrote the rental van manual, explaining where to find the infernal spare tire; without the young man at a tire service center in Mt. Vernon, Illinois who was the epitome of kindness; and there was the waitress, who at the diner when it was all over, seemed to understand that ice cream makes all disasters just a bit more tolerable.
All along the way I met people—honest, good people—who asked only for my confidence. That confidence was not disappointed, and I learned again that you have to trust a few people every now and then if you are going to make it safely home.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.