I heard a loud thump from the right front side of my vehicle as it became difficult to steer. As I slowly applied the brake, I pulled to the side of the road and my Dodge Durango vibrated and slid to a stop. Assuming that I had a flat tire, I was surprised to see that wasn’t the case. I could see no evidence of what caused my issue, but did notice that the front passenger tire appeared to be slanted inward. Thankful for recently renewing my AAA membership, I made the phone call for service and sat back as I began reading a book on the hot, humid July Saturday morning.

When the tow truck driver arrived about an hour later, he seemed a little irritated that I didn’t relay to him the fact that my upper ball joint to the tire had broken. Apparently, this would make it more difficult for him to tow the vehicle with the type of truck he had. I tried to ignore his complaint as I signed the liability damage release form and jumped into the passenger side of the air-conditioned tow truck for the thirty minute ride to the repair place.

As we began to exchange small talk, the 32 y/o shared with me that he had been assisting his aging parents who have some health issues before he received my call for service. He said that he felt particularly indebted to them because he was born with spina bifida (a condition that affects the spine that can cause moderate to severe disabilities). When he was a child, he said that he had multiple surgeries and extended hospital stays and his parents have always been his support. Because this condition caused problems with his bowels, he had to wear diapers until he was 18 and was often teased and bullied in school because of it. He refuses to accept disability at this time because he said he may need it later, but his goal right now is to work for as long as he is able. If that’s not enough to deal with, he said that after he dropped me off, he was heading to the hospital to visit his sister who has a brain tumor and been given a 10% chance of surviving.

With all he has to deal with, he said that he has learned to tolerate irate, stranded drivers because to them, it’s really a bad day. If I thought that I was having a bad day because my vehicle needed a tow, after meeting this tow truck driver, I would have been embarrassed to complain. We have no idea what others are dealing with. Be careful about how you describe a “bad day”.