The Kindness of Strangers in Wyoming is Awesome, Even During a Pandemic
When I moved to Cheyenne, WY back in January, a common theme I would hear from a lot of people was how great the people here are. It's held true already, and this past weekend, I experienced it first hand.
Before I get into this story, I should explain the background information. When I came here in January to be on 106.3 Cowboy Country, I was coming from Fargo, ND, where my apartment lease didn't end until April 30th. For any apartment situation, there's typically a cleaning and final walk through that has to be done. In order to prepare for this, despite an ongoing pandemic, which I'm personally taking very seriously, I had to travel back to grab a few miscellaneous things and thoroughly clean everything. That was the plan anyway. Here's what happened...
Sunday afternoon, roughly around 1:30 or 2 p.m., it was about the time I left to head back to Fargo, knowing I didn't have to be back until Tuesday night. It's about a 12-hour drive and then you also add about an hour due to the time difference since you have to cross into the Central Time Zone, so I was prepared to arrive back there at approximately 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning, which was no big deal to me.
About an hour into my drive, on the way to Torrington, I was startled as what I can only assume were two bison darted out in front of me as they charged across the road. Let me explain something, I am TERRIFIED of animals darting out in front of me on the road. I have several personal morbid and traumatic reasons for feeling this way. I immediately swerved off to the side of the road where it was luckily a flat surface of a grass field next to a fenced off ranch with some trees on the outside that were hiding the animals before they darted onto the roadway. I was so panicked, I began repeatedly calling friends trying to get ahold of someone. Finally my brother picked up and talked to me to calm me down. Yes, my fear of this happening is to the point that I will have crippling panic attacks about it.
Once I was ready to get back on the road, my trip was smooth...for about two hours. Then I get an alert that my right rear tire is severely deflated, then completely flat. I immediately pullover. The frustrating thing is that before I moved from Fargo three months back, I replaced all four of my tires with brand new ones.
So there I was, on US-85, approximately 25 miles outside of Newcastle, WY. If you've been through that exact spot I was in, there is absolutely nothing around, and you will have very little cellular service, if any. This was not a good spot to be in. Don't get me wrong, I know how to change a tire, but this would be my first time changing a tire on my current vehicle. I'm not exactly efficient with thing that involved being mechanically inclined.
As I was pulled over with my hazard lights on as I was trying to figure out what my options were, another car pulled to side and the man asked if I'd like some help. I gladly accepted his offer. Not only was this gentleman super kind for stopping to help, but he knew exactly what he was doing. It was as if he came straight from a pit crew working the Daytona 500. He immediately took charge, and did so very efficiently. The man was wearing a soccer shirt with tear away nylon pants and knew exactly what to do.
I wasn't about to stand in his way. If he needed any assistance, I was there, but he took over and I couldn't have been more appreciative. He changed the tire for me and despite my best efforts, did about 90 percent of the work. Not having any cash on hand, I asked if I could Venmo him some money for his efforts, he declined. I was so impressed with his knowledge and efficiency, I didn't even catch the man's name. He said to me, "God Bless you and have safe travels." That's amazing! What a guy, I'm still stunned. But the kindness of strangers did not end there...
Now driving on a spare tire, I know I obviously can't complete my drive and it's about 7 p.m. on a Sunday when every tire place is typically closed. But I pulled into Newcastle as my brother had called to ask if everything was okay. I was still flustered from the flat tire and consulted with him as to what my move would be for the night. He agreed that I should get the best hotel I could and get the tire fixed in the morning. At the time we were talking, I definitely rolled a key stop sign on 85 and right in front of a cop. I was actually about to pullover anyway, when the cop pulled over right with me, without turning his lights on.
As the police officer approached, while keeping his distance, he asked, "Sir, are you okay?" I explained to him that I knew I practically went through the stop sign and immediately apologized. He said he wasn't looking to really pull anyone over and give anyone a ticket, nor would he give one to me, but I definitely went through the sign pretty bad. I explained to him the situation about my tire and how I was going to get a hotel and asked if he knew what good hotels were in town. He recommended the Newcastle Lodge & Convention Center, and he also mentioned where I could go to get my tire fixed in the morning, at Voelkers Auto Body & Glass.
Basically, in the matter of the last 90 minutes, I went from being stranded in the middle of rural Wyoming with a flat tire and no cell service to having a place to stay for the night, as well as a place to get my tire fixed in the morning. Both places, the hotel and the auto repair establishment couldn't have been better with their customer service as well.
Disaster had been averted and I was on my way for the rest of my journey in the morning, thanks to the kindness of strangers in Wyoming.