Every dad is a hero in his kids’ eyes, so when you screw up in front of them it can feel like you’ve stolen their dreams. But it’s how you respond to a crisis that makes a dad a real hero and if you have a funny story to share with your kids for years to come, even better. David Mounfield shares how he heroically responded when he had a (car) breakdown in front of his son.
—This is article #37 in our series of #100Voices4Men and boys
On the way to an indoor skatepark in Poole, I ran out of fuel at a busy traffic lights. My son Eddie and his pal were at first nonplussed and then alarmed by the stream of furious motorists beeping then ripping past us swearing.
I climbed out and attempted to push the car to the side of the road to no great effect even with Ed steering. Then out of nowhere (it was not a busy area for pedestrians) sprang four friendly blokes who promptly pushed us all the way up the road and to safety on a wide pavement.
One of them was slightly drunk and was eating a whole unsliced loaf but I wasnt about to hold that against him. He did fall over into the busy road while pushing but it seemed the brush with death just make the loaf taste better (it WAS tiger bread). After thanking them profusely they told me a petrol station was just round the corner, wished me all the best and disappeared as quickly as they came.
Two pairs of small eyes bored into me
Heartened by this show of goodwill and my assurances to the boys that EVERYBODY runs out of fuel every now and again, (hem hem) we set off for the garage with my trusty petrol can (know thyself). Discovering that this garage was closed was therefore something of a shock. Two small pairs of eyes boring in to me I pondered what to do next.
At that moment a middle aged couple pulled up and told us to hop in and they’d take us to the next garage. Which turned out to be about 3 miles away so we would have been stuffed without them. I filled up the can and nipped in to pay, grabbing a bottle of wine as a thank you.
As I was paying it occured to me I had left my son and his pal in a complete strangers car. I looked very quickly indeed out of the shop window. They were still there. So that was nice. They even took us back to our car and seemed surprised by my “thankyou for not abducting the kids” bottle of wine.
Up shit creek without a funnel
All that stood between us and freedom was to get the petrol into the car. Now I know myself well enough to carry a petrol can but I am still capable of springing a few surprises on me when Im not looking. On this occasion I had sneakily neglected to pack the fuel funnel.Many would say after the can and the fuel therein, the most vital part of the equation.
Once more two small pairs of eyes bore into me. “If we miss our session at the skate park there shall be no forgiveness” they seemed to say. Their mouths said something pretty similar. Damn me and my brilliant self sabotage!
At that very moment my own intellect happened to be passing. It pointed out I could tear off the back of my old A to Z and fashion it into a funnel. I thanked my brain profusely and a few minutes later we were on our way just in time for the skating. I bought myself a coffee as a thank you.
The moral? If you dont behave like a blithering idiot every now and then, you dont get the chance to discover how decent the average passer by can be.
—Picture credit: Flickr/Stephen Clarkson
Following his stunning performance at a Poole petrol station, David Mounfield will be appearing on the Count Arthur Strong Christmas Special on Boxing Day on BBC Radio 4 11.30 am.
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men’s Day 2014 by clicking on this link—#100Voices4Men—and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
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