Every summer, my mom takes it upon herself to send me, my sisters Lauren and Colleen, my brother Sean, and a friend to
The morning we left was the same normal routine as every year. We got up, packed the car, said goodbye to my mom, and hit the road. The normal routine as we knew it ended there.
We had been driving for about a half hour when we notice the smell of what we thought was burning rubber. Thinking nothing of it, we kept driving. About twenty minutes later the smell was still lingering. Soon after that, I realized that other cars were signaling to us to pull over. Taking their advice, Lauren decided to pull over to inspect the car. When she got out to check, we noticed the car was filling with smoke. At this point, Lauren could visibly see her gas tank was on fire. Immediately she ordered that we all get out of the car. In a panic we jumped out, not thinking to grab so much as a cell phone. Out of the car, we started running away from it while yelling for help to the passing cars. Just as some cars pulled over, things took to a turn for the worst, and the entire car caught fire. Unable to do anything, we watched the fire claim all of our possessions.
As the car burned, I noticed my sister Colleen was on the ground shaking. Colleen has a history of anxiety and depressive disorders, so the sight of the car triggered a panic attack. Unfortunately, her medication was in the car. Minutes later the fire department came along with the police and an ambulance for Colleen. A woman from one of the cars stayed with us the entire time, allowing us to call our mother, and reminding us how lucky we were to be alive. Selfishly all we could think about were our belongings. Later a tow truck took us to meet our mother at a nearby rest stop. It was relieving to see that she was not angry or hysterical, but rather ready to take on the up coming challenges.
That night my mom spoke to the insurance company. They said they could replace our things if we had a witness. My mom contacted the woman who helped us when she pulled over. While speaking with her my mom learned that the woman had lost a daughter in a fire. Upon hearing this we all felt ashamed of ourselves for worrying only about our possessions.
The next day, my mother was determined to send us on vacation. She offered us the use of her car and said my grandparents would give us each some money to buy some new necessities to get us by. That left only one problem, we had no money to spend, all of our cash and credit cards were destroyed. Just then my sister Colleen offered to lend us the money she put away for school. The next day we packed the car again and four hours later we arrived at our destination.
Realizing that my things can be replaced, I think about how fortunate I am not only to be alive, but to know that I’m surrounded by people who are there to help me when I am in need, whether it’s friends, family, or even a stranger.
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