So it's been a while, but 2 weeks ago, when the kids and I were traveling back from a weekend in Salt Lake to see Jared and attend a bunch of meetings up there, we ran out of gas.
There are several long long stretches of nothingness between here and Provo. Usually the van will happily go on empty for like 30 miles or so. But I was busy chatting on the phone with my dad and I didn't really notice when that little gas light first went on and when I did notice it, we were in the middle one of those stretches. When we finally came upon a sign with that little picture of a gas tank on it, we took the exit and felt quite relieved.
But there was nothing in sight after we got off the exit - just a sign that said "Kanosh - 7 miles - services available." The road to Kanosh headed in the opposite direction of where we were going and didn't follow the freeway. Hmmm. Should we take the road to Kanosh and hope we'd make it the 7 miles, realizing that if we ran out of gas we'd be in the total middle of no where on a tiny road with very little traffic? Or should we continue on the freeway to the next town 14 miles away, realizing we probably wouldn't make it but there'd more likely be someone who could come along and help us on the freeway than on some tiny country road? The kids and I talked about it (not exactly calmly - I was feeling a bit panicy) and decided to try for Kanosh.
We drove 6 miles - no lights in sight - did Kanosh really even exist? Would it indeed have a gas station? Would it be open at 8pm at night? Uh oh, the car was slowing down. Everyone was silent. Slower and slower. Then we stopped. And there we were, smack dab in the middle of a totally deserted road in the middle of nowhere as far as we could tell. Hmmmmm.
So we used GPS to figure out that we were 1.2 miles from Kanosh. We decided we'd better get the car off the road. Ashton steered (took the job very seriously and felt pretty cool about it) while the twins rode and Liza, Isaac and I pushed. That car's a lot heavier than I would have guessed. But we got it off the road - at least mostly. Then we put the hazards on, called Jared and he got busy calling service stations that might be nearby. The kids and I got busy praying.
No cars came by. It was dark. We were all scared. Jared couldn't find any listings for gas stations in Kanosh. We wondered if we should try to walk into town. But would the gas station even be open if there was one?
Just as my calm resolve was wearing a little thin and I was having a hard time maintaining my "We'll be fine - God will help us - this is just a little adventure" attitude, a truck pulled up behind us.
A man in a cowboy hat walked up to my window and asked if we needed anything. Yep. We sure did need something. I explained our situation and the man said he luckily had a 5 gallon gas can in his car and could go get us some gas in Kanosh where there was indeed a gas station - but it was closed so we wouldn't have been able to get a gas can there. The pumps would work after hours with a credit card. "Do you trust me with a credit card so I can go get you some gas? You can all pile into my truck if you want to ride with me - my truck's a mess - or I can just get you the gas and bring it right back." The guy seemed nice enough. I handed over the credit card and sure enough, just a few minutes later, our cowboy showed up with gas for us.
As he poured the gas in the car, we talked about our families and the kids hung out the windows of the car listening and watching. Turns out he's adopted some kids from Russian orphanages - so much like the Bulgarian orphanages I used to visit on my mission and that our family helps support. Turns out he was cleaning out his horse trailer at his ranch down the road, hurrying so that he could get home for Family Home Evening. But he saw our car lights and had a strong feeling he should investigate even though his family was waiting for him. So he came and checked on us and became our hero.
After we got the car going again, we headed into town, found the tiny dark gas station and filled up the rest of the way. Our hero came by to make sure we found the gas station OK before heading home to his family. We said our heartfelt thanks and said goodbye - then all kids started talking at once - "Did you hear how that guy totally listened to the Holy Ghost!" "Heavenly Father sent him to help us - He really heard our prayer." "That guy is the nicest guy ever - he's our hero." "He even helps orphans!" "He even came to make sure we found the gas station OK!" "Let's always help people like that guy did."
Let's just say it was the best Family Home Evening lesson ever.
Thank you, cowboy hero from Kanosh!