Out of Gas

By Mark Hopper

One of the biggest adjustments for our children when we moved to California in 1988 was adapting to new schools. Our son started high school, our oldest daughter started middle school and the two youngest continued in elementary school.

My wife and I were committed to getting connected to the teachers and staff at each school. One of my first memories was attending Back to School Night at Diamond Bar High in the fall of 1988. I quickly learned that parking was at a premium. I finally found a parking spot down the hill on Brea Canyon Road a few blocks from the school.

This was my first experience going to an event at the high school. I was amazed at how many parents attended. It was a bit intimidating trying to find my son’s classrooms on this huge campus. But I was glad I was there to learn more about the school and the faculty.

At the end of the evening I walked down the hill and found my car. However when I tried to start my car I discovered I was out of gas. How did that happen? I’m sure it was my wife’s fault.

We did not have cell phones in 1988. I knew there was a pay phone by the front of the school. But my wife had gone to the open house at the Middle school and she was not home. I had no way to reach her.

I finally decided to try to coast down the hill on Brea Canyon Road and  see if I could make it all the way to the gas station at Diamond Bar Blvd which was probably a half-mile away. Most of the parents were gone and there were not many cars on the road. So I turned my headlights on and put the car in neutral and used my brakes to slow my speed.

I knew I had to cross two intersections to get all the way to the gas station. I worried that if I came to a complete stop I would not have enough momentum to get going again. Things went smoothly as I slowly coasted down Brea Canyon Road. Even when the road began to level out my car kept moving. Then I needed to slow down enough to turn into the gas station but not slow down too much and not make it all the way to the gas pump. Remarkably it worked. I coasted right up to the gas pump, filled the tank and got home safely. Amazing!

Let me encourage you to get involved in your children’s schools. Go to Back to School Night and other school events. And make sure you fill your gas tank before you go. You will be glad you did and I will too!

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at mark@efreedb.org.