around the island, plus Randy saves the day

June 8, 2011 |  Category:   life travels

Some shots tooling around the island, including a fine lunch of fried food at a local joint called Pop’s Raw Bar (bikers welcome!), but today I want to tell you a story about a local guy employed by Triple AAA who rescued the day from becoming a disaster. I don’t know how it happened, but our car battery died during our visit to the Hatteras Lighthouse. We jumped the car battery with the help from a nice couple at the lighthouse parking lot, but the car died again while driving about a mile down the road as we pulled away. WHILE DRIVING, people. Do you know how scary this could have been if we were driving on a busy road? Mark managed to steer the car off the road while the kids started freaking out and getting immediately grumpy because plans to meet up with family at an ice cream place got derailed. Plus it was like a million degrees out and the air was filled with smoke from a wildfire some miles north.

Can I just say…what the hell did we do in the dark ages without cell phones in situations like this? We made a quick call to one of the cousins who swung on by and carted the kids away, leaving behind another cousin who called Triple AAA. Then we waited. Now, the old me would have been fretting by now, thinking up a million scenarios about being stranded in North Carolina without a ride back back to NY and getting upset because we had just spent $1000 on getting the car all tuned and fixed up before the trip, but the new and improved Zen Me was keeping it together.

About a half an hour into our roadside detour, Uncle Mike shows up in his car with jumper cables and we hook the cars up and try to get it going again. Not happening this time, or the next, or the next time after that. The car just wouldn’t start up, even after a full 30 minutes of trying to charge the battery. Huh. See, now the old me would have been freaking up the wazoo at this point convinced that we’d have to abandon our lives in Brooklyn because we were for sure stranded in North Carolina, where we’d be eating fried clam strips forever. But the Zen Me remained calm. We were, however, getting a little worried about Triple AAA taking so long to get here, partly because we were so hot and bored sitting on the side of the rode (btw, thanks sheriff who passed us who wasn’t any help) and partly because I was starting to feel dehydrated, but just like all those scenes where the General Lee from the Dukes Of Hazzard comes blazing into your television screen, Triple AAA was here!

Our hero of the day came in the form of Randy, a shirtless, dirty blond long haired, visor sporting, denim shorts with flip flop wearing auto mechanic who had bigger (man) boobs than me. But whatever…that’s not important. Randy was just plain *awesome*. I mean sure, he had nothing to offer me in terms of a quenching beverage except for wine coolers that he had in his truck, but he knew what he was doing, identified and fixed the problem right away and wouldn’t even take our money until we saw him again later that day to replace our car battery (“aw, you ain’t in NY anymore, darlin’). He told us stories about mom & diddy and the questionable ethics of one of his competitors, who incidentally drove by us. “I’m a Christian man”, was his reply when asked if he wanted to flip the guy the finger as he drove by.

At some point Randy’s Girlfriend/Wife/Other jumps out of the truck and snaps some photos for their Facebook page, so of course I have to snap some pictures too. So I pull out my camera which has the bigger zoom lens on it that day and Randy jumps back like, “whoa, darlin’! You’re pullin’ out the big guns right there.”

Gotta say, Randy “Fat Daddy” Miller from Avon, North Carolina was as much of a highlight of the trip as any sunset or beach. In fact, I really wished that he could have ridden in the back seat between the girls on our drive home to NY, just in case anything happened. And no, I have not visited his Facebook page to see if our photo got posted to his wall and I doubt I will. I would rather keep memories of Randy, mythical. Like a unicorn.

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  • Visty June 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Great story. I met a nearly identical Day Saver in the middle of coastal Louisiana 19 years ago. I was stranded, in the days before cell phones, and I didn’t own a camera. He has definitely remained mystical to me. πŸ™‚ He came from nowhere, started tinkering with the engine of my old VW bus, then took out a small piece, threw it into the cattails and said, “youn’t be needing that”. Whatever he did, it worked like a charm.

  • naomi June 8, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    You make the most stressful moments look beautiful. Great story:)

  • Jill June 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    So did Randy bring you your midweek flowers, too? Or did you have to skip them due to all the car trouble?! πŸ˜‰

  • QQ June 9, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Ahhh your pictures are getting me sooooo excited! I’m suppose to go down there in October.

    Also, that’s great story.

  • Tawnie June 9, 2011 at 1:17 am

    I just found your blog via Sometimes Sweet, and I just have to say, your photos are amazing!

    Also, that story is amazing!

  • PInk Ronnie June 9, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Awesome story, Jenna!!! (You need to write a book. Seriously.)

  • Denny June 9, 2011 at 4:33 am

    hahaha as I was reading the Randy bits, I heard a little twang in my voice….and I kept thinking of Randy Quaid.

    Way to go Zen you!

    And Mia looks so matured here…hold on tight Jenna, soon she’ll be talking about real boy crushes.

  • Ana June 9, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I adore this post! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy day, friend!

  • siri June 9, 2011 at 7:56 am

    This is 100% my favorite post in recent memory. Also- Mia’s starting to look majorly grown up. Who got the two-tones shaved ice?

  • Susan June 9, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Haha…I met a lot of Randy’s while living in North (and south) Carolina…good people.

  • richard June 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

    wow, jenna. what a snarky, ungrateful bitch you are to someone who saved your day. Your tone in this post is quite revealing and very unflattering. You’re a great example of why the rest of America dislikes NY’ers so much. Can you get your nose any higher in the air? And BTW, what is Triple AAA? Is it the same thing as AAA, or Triple A, or is that a NYC thing? As a native NY’er, (Bronx) who now lives in Palm Beach and Aspen, I can assure you that Americans aren’t sitting around being jealous of people who live in NYC. Its really just the opposite. No one besides NY’ers are always reminding everyone how much they love where they live. Listening to NY’ers like you is so tiresome. So at least there’s that.

  • Chantale June 9, 2011 at 9:09 am

    That is f-in awesome! I may be naive but stories like these prove there are still good people in this world, no matter what form they come in as. : ) Long haired, flip flop-wearin’ indeed.

  • Jenna June 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Wow Richard, what a mean comment, but I’m publishing it because I’m sure you’ve commented before and you aren’t anonymous. I think you read the whole post the wrong way. Sure, I can be snarky, but none of this was written with sarcasm. I really did love the guy and he WAS one of the best things about this trip. I put that out there in writing. How you’re making assumptions about me, including your snarky Triple A (or Triple AAA) comment, in a really mean manner might say something about your character, actually.

  • Catherine June 9, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Jenna, I’m sorry you received the mean comment. I can never really understand why a very small lot of blog readers lurk around and obviously don’t care about reading the blog but instead would rather leave rude and mean comments to put the spotlight on themselves and gain attention.

  • Christina June 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I’m at work and I couldn’t suppress my laugh-out-loud moment when I got to the unicorn part. Thanks for making my day with a sweet and funny story.

  • Heather June 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Your photographs always make me start wanting to plan a trip to wherever you just traveled. Maybe you should start a travel photography side business? What a great vacation! Your photograph of Mia is just breathtaking. She is so beautiful, and she does look like just a slightly smaller version of a stunning twenty year old woman. Claudine is adorable too! I’m glad you had a fantastic trip, I’m glad your car was saved, and I’m glad you had an adventure story to share with a happy ending.

  • Tina June 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Loved the story! It makes want to drive down to NC and deliberately sabotage my car so that I could meet Randy myself! My car stopped in the middle of a highway once (it was my alternators, whatever that means). Believe me, it was scary and while I was waiting for the tow truck, there were some people that yelled some not so nice words to me as if I wanted to stop my car in the middle of the highway for the hell of it.

  • mette / ungt blod June 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

    wow Richard i can’t believe people actually talk/write like that! Soooo snarky! I didn’t get any of that from the post

  • SY June 9, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I agree Jenna, Richard’s comments were downright mean…if you had any sense of humor at all Richard, you would have read this and realized the gratitude Jenna had for Randy.

    Jenna, I thought the post was sweet and funny and those first pictures of the girls are to die for.

  • sarah June 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    jenna, what a great story. i absolutely loved reading it, not just because it was hilarious, but because your writing style really is my absolute favorite. Of course it’s pretty obvious that not everyone (um, richard) has good taste in writing style πŸ™‚ It’s funny how the random mishaps as well as meeting interesting people can really make a trip memorable. Hoping that my road trip this month is filled with funny memories (w/o the car trouble) as well. Oh, and I just renewed my triple AAA this week. Good thing!

  • Sara Jensen June 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Richard,
    I find it super amazing that you are leaving a slightly anonymous comment. Snarky? Really? Not really sure how you got that from this post. If something is snarky it is your poorly written comment about a post that is honest and funny. Have fun in PALM BEACH and ASPEN because that was SO relevant to the post and doesn’t make you sound like a dickwad at all.

  • Shilo June 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    three things:
    1. Your vacation looks like it was absolutely lovely and thank goodness for Southern hospitality when you guys were in need
    2. That photo of Mia is incredible, you can really see the young woman she’s quickly becoming.
    3. Sara Jensen is awesome.

  • Anna @ D16 June 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Jenna, either you completely revised this post after Richard commented and I missed the part where you come off as a “snarky, ungrateful bitch”, or Richard has some major reading comprehension skills (and a whole lot to learn about manners and tactβ€”but I guess I can blame that on him being from the Bronx, right?).

    Guys like Randy are where it’s at. I wish I had photos of all the Randys who have saved my day in the past! Did you already try to find his Facebook page? (And Denny, I imagined Randy Quaid playing the role of “Randy”, too!!)

  • HaeWon June 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Jenna, I think you’re a brilliant writer and I enjoying reading your blog every day. Thank you for that. And I love how you handled such a rude comment. I don’t know why some people feel that they have to write such negative comments to people that they don’t know. It’s like what I tell my kids: The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself and don’t call people mean names.
    I love your beautiful family and your stories!

  • Una June 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    My car battery died 2 wks ago as well and I was stranded in the middle of the road. Thank goodness for cell phone and dependable friends and families who are able to help us when we are in need.

  • Eve June 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Let’s just all assume Richard was having a bad day! Lovely post Jenna (I actually sat here picking out my 2 flavours of those ice things. Pure escapism!! We had freaky hailstones here (Dublin, Ireland) today :'(

  • Robin June 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Hey found your blog through sometimes sweet. You take great pictures and have a great blog =)

  • Betsy June 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Whoa, my brother e-mailed me about renting a house in Avon, NC just a few hours ago– freaky!

    I hope against hope we run into Randy if I do end up going!

    Oh, and hey “richard”, go fuck yourself.

  • kaci June 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    It’s just amazing how each one of us perceives and processes information so differently. I certainly did not get a snarky or sarcastic feeling from you after reading this post. I even tried looking for a picture of Randy on your Twitter/Instagram, but couldn’t find it.

  • Kirstin June 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I think the best times are the times when something doesn’t go according to plan but instead of fretting about it you can learn to welcome it. Its then that everything in your life can become neat little moments and memories instead of things to complain about πŸ™‚

  • Neisha June 10, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Your daughters are very beautiful. I just had to say that. What angelic faces!

  • Rebecca June 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    thanks very much for sharing this story and the photos! Sweetfineday is such a cosy blog, and your little girls are simply charming.

    Miss Mia looks like a little adult in this photo. And as for Miss C? Oh, just being her usual angelic self that we always see in your photos! I get the sense that you and Mark are great parents and I hope that you will continue to maintain this blog.

    P.S. About keeping memories of Randy mythical… Made me recall what you wrote about Miss C claiming to be “allergic to unicorns”! Got to love her.

  • Erin June 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Oh Jenna, your post helps me remember that wonderful day on the side of the road. I loved talking to Randy on the phone, “you just sit in the shade baby doll and I will be right there”- he was WONDERFUL and I now regret not sharing a cool wine cooler with Mrs. Randy.

  • bron @ baby space June 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Love this holiday story and that’s a particularly cool photo of Mia. Glad you guys had an interesting time!

  • Cadie June 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

    It’s good to hear that your car story in NC turned out better than mine! I went down to NC (Wilmington area) with some friends and my boyfriend the summer after I graduated college and while driving my parent’s van in Virginia, our transmission died! You guys seemed to handle the situation much better than we did as I had one friend who was already concerned about her boyfriend not being able to stay the whole trip/arriving later than us and me who does not do well when there is car trouble. We ended up meeting a great tow truck driver and though the van ended up being too much money to fix, it didn’t ruin our vacation and we had a great story to tell later.

  • Lola June 14, 2011 at 3:00 am

    OMG, I am loving Mia’s bangs! And the shaved ice. So jealous!

  • stacy June 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    What a guy that Randy is! Dont you love it when people pleasantly surprise you? ” I would rather keep memories of Randy, mythical. Like a unicorn. ” ….made me laugh!