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The Luckiest Unluck

I knew the day would come when I would fail to execute a booking. I wondered, would the truck break down on the highway? A teacher wouldn’t show? Maybe I’d be sick or injured and couldn’t find a replacement driver in time? It feels vulnerable to be a small business owner with limited redundancies or Plan B for some things.

On October 3, timed (im)perfectly for a back-to-back-bookings-starting-at-the-crack-of-dawn, I learned what fail #1 would be: parked truck will sink in the mud caused by record-breaking rains, lean left and be slightly impaled by steel rebar.

Step 1: panic briefly; Step 2: place piece of wood behind one wheel to provide traction (woefully inadequate), try again and dig myself further in; Step 3: notice rebar puncture, resume brief panic, realize that pulling out is going to do even more damage; Step 4: call husband to request reinforcement, even though it’s 5:25am. Step 5: husband arrives with more wood for traction plus moral support, but efforts do not extricate truck. Step 6: accept that there is no way to make 7:00am event. Email/text/call clients, students and teacher to communicate that classes will be canceled. Step 7: text parking “landlord” to ask for permission to remove rebar (reinforced steel; don’t ask me how I thought I was going to make that happen); Step 8: ask Jesse for towing referral. Call company, but told to call back at 7:00am...

And right then I look up to see that Bret, my parking “landlord,” has appeared. He calmly declares, “Don’t worry. I’m going to get you out,” quickly assesses the situation, forms a plan and gets to work. He gathers two blow torches, a crowbar, a shovel and a pick-up truck with all the chains and pulleys for towing. His wife, Mimi, and a friend, Brian, arrive to help too.

They work diligently and patiently for about 45 minutes; like a superhero Bret bends two bars of steel and then frees the truck. I mostly stand around marveling at my luck (though I did very briefly wield the blow torch). It’s just incredible that they dropped everything to rescue the studio and that they have all the know-how and tools to do it.

Thanks to their quick, excellent work, I was able to make the 11:00am event that day. And the studio drove away much less damaged than what might have been. Instead of feeling super crappy about canceling the 7:00am booking, I felt mostly elated, grateful and just plain lucky. And that reframed perspective might have been the biggest gift of all.

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