Skip to content

Grateful For Broken Down Cars On The Side Of The Road

February 20, 2020

We’ve all seen them, right? The car pulled off to the side of the freeway. Maybe the hood is up. Maybe the flashers are on. Maybe there’s someone sitting on the ground, or in the car if it’s rainy or dark. Sometimes the cars are abandoned.

Perhaps you drive past them without a thought. Maybe you glance to make sure that no one is injured and then continue on. I’ve started to see those cars in a whole different light. A personal light.

My word of the year this year is Grateful. I’ve been exploring what that meant. Yesterday I talked about the things about my job that make me grateful.

But, we can find gratitude, like the hand of God, in everything if we look for it. I find gratitude when I see a car broken down on the side of the road.

This was me in April 2015.

My car died on the side of the road. I didn’t know how serious it was at the time. Turns out it was pretty serious. We, my neighbor and I, ended up rebuilding nearly the entire engine. It was a weeks long job that taught me a lot about cars.

One of the thigns I learned about cars is that I enjoy working on my cars, but I don’t really trust my mechanic. Maybe it’s like watching the sausage being made.

Maybe you know that there are shocks that connect your axles to the rest of the car. There’s four of course. And the entire weight of the car is resting on those four shocks. I once had to replace the shocks on my car. Turns out those shocks, that are holding up your entire car are secured by three bolts. That’s it. And not great big lug nut type bolts. No, three fairly medium sized bolts, and gravity hold it together.

I drove very timidly during in the weeks after I swapped out my shocks. I mean, three bolts!

So, when I’m driving down the freeway, and I feel my car “lurch” I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Is it just a bad spot on the road? Or is it the engine going out? Or is it one of those three bolts failing? (The last one is not really an worry. More of an irrational fear.)

And I drive old cars, so the chances that some critical part of the car will fail while on the freeway at 70 MPH is not outside the realm of possibility.

So, why am I grateful when I see a car broken down on the side of the road?

This might sound insensitive, but I’m glad it’s not me. In fact, I will often say,

There’s someone who’s having a worse day than me.

And that’s something to be grateful for.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (
LinkedIn (
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

  1. Aaron Wayman permalink

    “Like working on cars, but I don’t trust my mechanic.” That is me with just about every repair I do on anything.

    • I know, right? I’m WAY more trusting if an “expert” will keep me in the dark about what they did.

Leave a Reply