Monday, April 30, 2007

Yuen Better Watch Out!

Today I met Yuen! He was driving this large white truck when his rear wheel blew out! When I drove by, he was by himself, pulled as far left as he could be, waving cars around his vehicle which was still 25% in the fast lane! It was a very dangerous situation!

Click here for a map.

I was cruising the right side of the viaduct, "on patrol" if you will, when I noticed him on the far left, 7 lanes over! There was no way I was going to be able to get to him, so I pulled over to the right and turned on all my blinkers and flashers and started slowly backing up. When I got across from him I motioned I was calling police and he indicated he had a friend on the way. I continued slowly backing up until I thought I had enough room to cross given a large break in traffic.

Well waiting for a large break in traffic on the viaduct at 6pm took a long time. I called 911 to try to get some traffic assistance and got my fluorescent vest out. Finally the break came and I was able to cross the 7 lanes and pull up behind him. I figured my flashers might be easier to see from a distance.

He told me about the blow out and his friend who was coming and thanked me for stopping. I took over the flag waving chores while he was able to get on the phone and start trying to solve his predicament. Soon we were waving people over together. I got on top of the zipper lane divider to be easier seen when I saw something orange by the big planters between the highways. There, placed as if God himself wanted us to have them, were 3 old traffic cones stacked and ready for duty! Thank you Lord!

I ran over and jumped the wall to the planter, which for all intents and purposes must have looked like I was jumping off a bridge! I popped right back with the cones which we immediately set up upstream from our lane. I have to admit, I felt a lot safer with those 3 old cones out. and no one tried to squeeze past us anymore!

Soon his friend arrived and they set to work on the tire. I was experimenting with different styles of waving and settled on a very authoritative snapping point to the next lane, using my fluorescent vest as a flag. That seemed to get the most response the furthest away. I didn't want it to look like a hailing "help us" flag waving either. Just wanted them to see me early and give way. There were a couple of folks who just didn't get it. They would roll to a stop right in front of us and then try to merge into the next lane of folks going 60mph! That was probably the most dangerous thing I saw.

Yuen ran up and asked me if I knew any tow truck companies. Turns out the spare the friend brought wasn't working out. I had a number in my phone for Humbug Towing. I gave them the number, but honestly don't know if they called or if Humbug could help them.

By now the sun was directly behind us and I was sure the cars were having a hard time seeing us. The drivers had to see us while nearly looking directly into the sun! Our arms were actually getting fatigued too. Waving constantly for an hour does actually get to you. I don't know how the political sign wavers do it!

The sun was getting low and the cars headlights came on. Yuen offered to wave for a while since they were just waiting for the tow truck at this point. "Where are the cops?" I thought. It had been nearly an hour since I called 911.

I went to the truck and set up my 1,000,000 candlepower spot light. When cars were approaching in our lane at nearly a half mile away, I would sweep the tight beam up and down the lane, creating a flashing effect to the cars approaching. When the lane was clear I would just point the beam down. It seemed to work well because the cars were moving over much farther away.

FINALLY 2 police cruisers arrived with all their blue lights and flashing white strobes and blocked off our lane. They looked like the cavalry coming to our rescue, and I felt safe and a little silly there with my little orange flasher and my hand-held spotlight. There was really nothing else I could do at that point, so I gave Yuen my blog card and shook his hand. He was very very grateful and he thanked me very much. I also gave a card to his friend and then got back in my truck.

First thing I noticed was the gas light! I had left the car idling for nearly an hour to operate the lights and I had forgotten that I was very low on fuel. Yikes! Fortunately, I had no problem getting to a station for a couple of gallons, and I did have a gallon in the back for a self rescue if I needed to use it.

This was definitely the longest and most interesting roadside rescue so far, and I certainly hope that Yuen and his friend check in here and tell a little of their side of the story!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

TheCab broke a fanbelt

I pulled over to help this cabbie (63808). He had broken a fan belt so there wasn't much I could do to help. He still had his customers in the back, but had already called for another cab and a tow truck. I wonder if the meter was still running? Actually, I bet they got a free ride.

Click for Map

I forgot to give the cabbie one of my new cards!

I gotta see if there is such a thing as an emergency fan belt.

This message was sent from Rich's Treo 650.

Yvonne needed water

Bryan and I were on our way to watch a Botball tournament at the convention center when we spoted a blue pickup with its hazard lights flashing.

Click for Map

We pulled over and met Yvonne. I asked her what's the matter. She said the car needed water. She said she was borrowing her brother's truck and the radiator was bone dry. I filled it up while Bryan gave her a card and took a picture. She was back on the road in a matter of minutes.

Shucks, I forgot to say "God bless you" when we left.

This message was sent from Rich's Treo 650.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Flat Tire

This family needed a new tire, but already had a church friend coming with a replacement. I didn't get her name but was able to give her a card.

This message was sent from Rich's Treo 650.

Sebastian and Friend

This is Sebastian. He and his buddy were having some electrical problems, but they had already called a friend over to give them a jump-start. I was hoping to use my brand new jumpstarter for the first time, but they declined any help. He did get to be the first recipient of a blog card, and hopefully he'll check the blog and leave a comment here!
UPDATE: Sebastian did stop by and became the first to comment on this blog! See below. Thanks!

My cards arrived!

Finally my new Moo cards arrived! They are really cool and I can't wait to start handing them out! $25 for a hundred and I could use photos from my Flickr account.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Monster Truck=BIG problem

This is Paul. I actually recognized this truck from around Mililani.

I found him today at the H1/H2 merge area, almost exactly where I met Alex, my first ever roadside rescue. When I was backing up toward him, I could immediately see the problem...a flat tire.

Click For Map

I got out and went to see if there was anything I could do. Paul said he had a friend with a platform tow truck who was coming to get him. These big monster trucks are gorgeous, but they often don't have anyplace for a spare if one of the tires go down.

We talked a little and I mentioned the blog. I wish I had a card to give him. In a few days my cards will have arrived and I'll have something to pass out to these folks to lead them here.

He let me take his picture and then we said goodbye. I'm sure I'll be seeing him around again.

Electrical Problem

This is Kevin's beautiful Mustang. This "afterthought" photo doesn't do it justice. He was pulled over just outside the Middle street tunnel heading toward the airport. Kevin was wearing a TSA uniform so I assume he works there. He was having problems with his alarm's anti-theft device. The cutoff device is supposed to disable the car if it is stolen but it was cutting off the fuel pump even when disarmed. Yes the thought occured to me that maybe Kevin had stolen this car, but I just didn't get that vibe at all. Anyways, he said he had a tow truck already on the way and there was obviously little I could do to help so we parted ways.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fender Bender

Looks like a small fender bender. The sedan in the center appeared to have rear ended another vehicle. Its hood was deformed. A motorcycle officer pulled away just before I snapped the photo. That puzzled me. I guess he checked for injuries and called in another unit to take statements. I did not stop. In fact there were no stops needed the entire way home today.

This message was sent from Rich's Treo 650.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quickie #2

This guy had overheated, but he already had his own water and just needed to let it cool a while. He thanked me for stopping.

This message was sent from Rich's Treo 650.

Quickie #1

I made a quick stop to help a gentleman near the Aloha Stadium interchange. He said it died like it was out of gas, but his fuel meter still showed a quarter tank. He said he had already called a tow truck and that since it was on the way he would wait for it. He thanked me for stopping.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Irene Needed Water

This is Irene. She has a great smile! She was smiling even before I asked her "What's the Matter?"

She had just pulled over because she saw that her borrowed van was overheating. Turns out she didn't have any water in her radiator! Her own car had been having some problems, so a friend lent her this one while her's was being fixed. Glad she got back on the road quickly! She was happy to let me take a photo even when it started raining!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Blown Out Front Tire

This Navy officer's pickup had totally blown out its driver's side front tire. He told me he already had someone on the way to help and as you can see there is NO ROOM to safely work on the tire. He thanked me for stopping and that was all I could do.

Needing Water at Taco Bell

This is Gerald and Tonya. They needed water for their classic Cadillac which I swear was a mile and a half long! Both of Tonya's parents are mechanics and so she knew exactly what the problem was. I encountered them after going through the drive through at Taco Bell in Waipio. They were shuttling little plastic containers from the restaurant to the car and it was taking forever. I was able to give them water and get them going again right away. Gave them a big "God Bless You" and got one right back. Tonya was definitely the more talkative one.

This photo was sent from Rich's Treo 650.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Outta Gas

Today I came upon a couple who were nearly home to their Pearl City house when their gold van ran out of gas. I had a gallon of gas in the truck and we poured it all in. I thought that was all it would need, but after many attempts it still would not quite start. We were on a slight incline and the gas wasn't getting to the fuel pump!

After thinking about it some, we started violently rocking the car side to side while he tried to start it and sure enough it started right up! We were laughing about how it must have looked to the cars passing by! They took off before the engine had a chance to die again and I sent them off with a hearty "God Bless You!".

Sometimes when we are out of gas, we just need someone to shake us up to get going again!

From March 28, 2007

March 28, 2007
New Friends

Today, on the way home I met Juan. Juan had overheated (well,...not Juan, but his truck), and he had been sitting there an hour! Juan speaks Spanish and his English was very basic, but we seemed to be communicating just fine. He seemed to be very happy to see my jug of water! Just as I was wrapping things up, Juan's friend Raoul (?) arrived and he thanked me for helping.

From Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Fixing Broken Things

This afternoon I got a worried call from Emily telling me the steering was really getting tough on our Isuzu Rodeo. She thought the tires were flat, but none seemed any flatter than another. She was picking up Bryan and Bradley from school, and had our nieces Rachael and Becky in the car too. She had one of the teachers look at it and it turns our our power steering belt was holding on by a thread!

Fortunately we have AAA so we had it towed up to Goodyear and they had it fixed in no time for only $58. Dealing with all of that took Emily all afternoon.

On a different note, I stopped to help a young man with an overheating problem on the way home today. A fitting had cracked off his engine block and he was losing all his coolant. All he had was a tire repair kit which wasn't helping much. I had some duct tape, so we used it to bind up the hole as best we could and refilled his radiator. We were next to Waikele, and he just had to get to Mililani, but that meant driving in... the gulch! (Music: Dum Dum dum...a misty fog rises from the ground, eerily lit from below)

(Read slowly:) Yes, the Gulch of Doom, the Canyon of Never Ending Darkness, The Black Hole... It is in a depression (difficult cell coverage), it has no shoulder or sidewalks (no place to pull over out of the road), it has blind turns and no street lights when it gets dark. It is The Pass That Time Forgot!

OK, OK, enough of that. (Rich waves hand dissipating misty fog). We got rolling, and I followed him into the gulch. A little trail of water was being left by his car. Not good. We got past the worst possible place to stall, but then he pulled over in the only place that had a little bit of room for both of us. He hopped out and started refilling his radiator. I mostly kept an eye on traffic. After a long second refill, we were off again and soon out of the gulch. We shared a wave and a shaka as we parted ways. I hope he can get that fixed tonight. He needs it to drive to work tomorrow.

From Thursday, September 21, 2006

From Thursday, September 21, 2006
Along The Way Home...

Meet my new friend Alex.

Alex was on his way home to Waipahu after dropping off a family member at the nursing home when he ran out of gas. Alex told me he ran out of gas around 1pm. I found him at 6:15pm! I was flabbergasted!

I happened to have a bottle of "Emergency Rescue Fuel" with me, which we put into his van. He crawled in and tried to start it, but after his earlier attempts to get the thing going, he had drained the battery! Fortunately he had some jumper cables so we jumped his battery and it started right up.

I went over to shake his hand and say goodbye. I had a hard time understanding everything he was saying. The freeway was loud and he had a heavy accent, but he seemed genuinely moved by the help God had brought him. There was a cross on his neck and hanging from his rear view mirror. I wonder if he was praying. When I was driving home today, I just felt like I had to stay in the right lane.

He told me he had to get to Waipahu to pick up his 4 kids. I showed him pictures of my kids. We shook hands and and said our goodbyes. He asked for a business card and I gave him one of my "Spread The Word" ones.

Maybe I'll hear from Alex again sometime. I think it is kinda ironic that he ended up in my blog titled "The Fuel Depot".

Posted by Rich at 9:44 PM

The Purpose for This Blog


This blog is for recording the events and people that the Lord leads me to along the roads and freeways of Hawaii.

I believe that every follower of Christ should be available to minister to the people God brings along their path. The Spirit of God has moved me to care about the people who are stranded along the road. With each passing car, they are reminded how little they matter to others. Even when in obvious distress, people do not stop. The latest trend in bumper stickers says it all "Ainokea" (meaning I No Care!) It is easier to remain anonymous and keep on driving, than to stop and see what can be done to help.

That's why when someone does stop, it stands out. It is like screaming "I CARE! You matter to me and you matter to God!"

Philippians 2:3-4 says:
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Selfishness has always been a problem for me, so I am hoping that by choosing to serve the stranded of Hawaii, God will change my character to be more like His, and as I change, I'm hoping to point people to Him.

He is our Ultimate Rescuer. He has the resources we need when our lives are broken, when we are stranded, or when we're just plain out of gas. He is our Maker and Designer, and He can always fix what's broken.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Why Do You Stop?

I am an only child and grew up with a very selfish attitude. I always saw things in light of me and my goals. Our family went to church but I always thought it was boring.

It wasn't until my teen years that I understood that going to church doesn't make me a Christian anymore than being in a garage makes me a car! Being a Christian has little to do with attending church and everything to do with a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. Through the Bible, He showed me how much people matter to Him, that He loves them with a deeper love than I will ever fully understand and never be worthy of. I began to see the destructiveness of my heart and behaviors. I knew I was a sinner and He offered me forgiveness and a fresh start. He began to change me from the inside out! I started to see the world fresh through His eyes. I started a relationship with Him that has now grown for many years and it is the center and joy of my life.

Recently, I began to notice the people stranded on the side of the road, then it became more than noticing, it became caring. Soon the caring was becoming overwhelming and I began to feel bad when I passed by. What was happening to me? God was answering a prayer I had asked of Him. A prayer to increase my love and compassion for people and to remove my selfishness. I placed my faith in Him to do this work in my heart, and began yielding to His leading.

Soon I started gathering resources....gas, water, jumper cables, duct tape. The first time was a little scary but I stopped for a motorist. What he told me broke my heart. He said he had been stuck there over 5 hours! Imagine being reminded how little you matter to people with each passing car for 5 hours straight!

My heart changed from caring into a mission. People needed to know that they matter to God. Now I always drive in the right lane. I consider it a privilege to help people and I try to represent Him to the people of Hawaii. Sometimes all I get to say is "God Bless You", sometimes all they see is my "fish" sticker on the truck, but in faith I am counting on God to use this to further His kingdom however He chooses to.

If there is one thing I'd like you to know about, it is God's ultimate rescue effort for you. If I have helped you in anyway, then as a favor, please read My Life Needs A Rescue and think carefully about it.

The Ultimate Rescue

The central theme of the Bible is God's love for you and for all people. This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Christ died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. You can know for sure what will become of you after you die.

You have probably heard the story of God's love referred to as the "Gospel." The word Gospel simply means "Good News." The Gospel is the Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever with Him.

But this gift of forgiveness and eternal life cannot be yours unless you willingly accept it. God requires an individual response from you. The following verses from the Bible show God's part and yours in this process:

God's Love Is Revealed in the Bible
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." —John 3:16 (NIV)

God loves you. He wants to bless your life and make it full and complete. And He wants to give you a life which will last forever, even after you experience physical death.

We Are Sinful
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." —Romans 3:23 (NIV)

You may have heard someone say, "I'm only human—nobody's perfect." This Bible verse says the same thing: We are all sinners. We all do things that we know are wrong. And that's why we feel estranged from God—because God is holy and good, and we are not.

Sin Has a Penalty
"For the wages of sin is death." —Romans 6:23 (NIV)

Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins. If you continue to sin, you will pay the penalty of spiritual death: You will not only die physically; you will also be separated from our holy God for all eternity. The Bible teaches that those who choose to remain separated from God will spend eternity in a place called hell.

Christ Has Paid Our Penalty!
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." —Romans 5:8 (NIV)

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, has paid the penalty for all your sins. You may think you have to lead a good life and do good deeds before God will love you. But the Bible says that Christ loved you enough to die for you, even when you were rebelling against Him.

Salvation Is a Free Gift
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." —Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

The word grace means "undeserved favor." It means God is offering you something you could never provide for yourself: forgiveness of sins and eternal life, God's gift to you is free. You do not have to work for a gift. All you have to do is joyfully receive it, Believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you!

Christ Is at Your Heart's Door
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." —Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. Picture, if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will). Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life.

You Must Receive Him
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." —John 1:12 (NIV)

When you receive Christ into your heart you become a child of God, and have the privilege of talking to Him in prayer at any time about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity.

If you are making this commitment to Christ today, please let me know. I would love to encourage you and send you a Bible and help you get plugged in to an awesome church family near you.