It is worrisome when your battery indicator light comes on. It’s more worrisome when you are traveling on the interstate. It’s more worrisome still when you are on the interstate miles and miles away from home on vacation with your husband and eight kids. It is down right horrible when all of this happens on a Sunday night.
We about a half and hour away from checking-in to our cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee when battery light came on. I was in the passenger seat and so I looked in the manual to see what it said . . . the battery is not charging correctly. We started to lose power so we pulled off the interstate and tried to get to a gas station before our van completely died. We told the kids to pray. We made it to the Love’s gas station in Dandridge, Tennessee.
James called AAA and they said they would send someone out. He explained that we he was on vacation with his wife and 8 kids. The AAA guy called us and said he was about a half an hour away. Mike got to Love’s and charged our battery. Then he checked to see if the battery would hold a charge. When he tested things, he discovered our battery was good, but we needed a new alternator. On a Sunday night with eight kids we were stranded in Love’s parking lot. The AAA guy closed the van hood and said he would make a few phone calls.
James told me the bad news. We told the kids to keep praying. I looked up some auto repair shops and all of them were closed or closing in just a few minutes. James and I talked getting the van towed to an auto repair place, renting a vehicle, and finding another place to stay if we missed our check-in time. We talked about how much money all of this would cost. We talked about the possibility of spending the night in the van at Love’s gas station and calling for a tow, taking the van to the repair shop, and getting a rental in the morning when we knew things would be open.
The AAA guy, Mike, was talking on the phone for quite a while. He got into this truck and sat for a while. He got out of the truck and walked toward us. James thought he was going to come over to talk to us so he got out of the van, but Mike stayed on his phone and kept walking back and forth so James got back into the van. Finally Mike asked James to pop the hood.
Mike got off the phone and motioned for James to come talk to him and then he started changing the tire on his own work truck. He then told James something totally unexpected. Mike had found the alternator at an auto parts store and he would change it that night after he got his truck tire changed! He gave me a thumbs up and mouthed, “we’re good,” at me. Curious to know what was up I opened my door and James told me the good news!
Mike drove James to go get the new alternator. They got to the auto parts store at 8:02 p.m. and the store closed at 8 p.m. They saw the guy inside, but he shook his head at them and waved they off. So Mike called another store a little farther away. They had the part and didn’t close until 9 p.m. so they went there.
Mike changed our alternator and by 9:30 p.m. we were on the road again. Mike would only let James pay for the alternator and he refused to accept any money for changing it out! The kids and I tried to sing happy birthday to Mike but he was embarrassed and walked away. We thanked him profusely!
While we sat there our oldest daughter said, “I know the name of this place is Love’s but I hate it!” It was not fun sitting in the van for 3 hours at Love’s gas station, and none of the kids wanted to go to a Love’s gas stations again, but I can’t say that I blame them!
God can take what seems like an absolutely horrid situation and turn it into a story about how He is watching out for us all the time!