Rescue results in tow-truck turf battle

By Tammy Keith Originally Published July 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 19, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
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(Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series on the driving debacle Tammy Keith and her family underwent on July 3.)

There we were, on the side of the interstate, a running vehicle with the keys locked in it.

To recap last week’s column, it was July 3, and my younger son and his girlfriend were on their way to my parents’ house in Jonesboro to celebrate his 20th birthday on the Fourth of July when things went awry.

I was traveling behind them by myself, because Husband was making the trip from Mississippi, where he is working on his doctorate.

The first thing that happened was an 18-wheeler had run my son off the road back around El Paso (witnesses, feel free to contact me with the ID of the big rig so I can go all Mad Momma on the driver).

Miles later, my son’s car had a flat. I believe they are related; Husband says no.

My son had changed the flat tire without incident, not counting the ticks and mosquitoes, while Girlfriend and I tried not to get killed by a speeding vehicle, or bitten by anything.

After stopping a couple more times to check on the spare, my son locked his keys in his running car. Girlfriend tried to pick the lock with a bobby pin, cut her hand and we riffled through my vehicle to find any kind of tool to open the doors.

They tried to break in the sun roof, which many people have since said wasn’t smart. When you are on the side of a buggy highway in July, vehicles zooming by, all you want is to get in the vehicle and get to your destination, especially one with my dad’s homemade bread.

So, we called Husband and tow trucks. Two, because one was going to take 45 minutes, and I found a closer one. Dale was my man.

At some point while I was trying to call for help, my phone quit working. It was frozen, and I couldn’t even turn it off. When I got a call, it rang, but I couldn’t answer.

We sat in my vehicle waiting for help, and the car was full of bugs. It reminded me of the old commercial where the guy sticks his arm in the box with mosquitoes and they cover his arm before he uses OFF!

Girlfriend tried to be positive: “At least it’s not raining,” she said. My son said that would be

better, because there wouldn’t be bugs.

We told keys-locked-in-the-car stories to try to make him feel better. It didn’t help.

So, we told family stories and had a little bonding time.

It was dark, and Girlfriend said, “This reminds me of The Hitcher,” referring to a scary movie.

Husband was close, so we tried to cancel one tow truck.

“I drove 90 miles an hour — I’ve been driving my wheels off to get to you,” Dale said.

So, I let him come. We told the other guy not to come, and he argued. He wanted to know what Dale was charging.

We were in no mood to get in a turf war with tow trucks.

Whoever got there first was fine with me.

Dale showed up, and by that time, it was dark. My son, who was wearing a black shirt, held the flashlight while Dale jimmied the window on my son’s black car.

I prayed, mainly, and swatted bugs.

Dale swallowed a bug and had a little coughing fit.

We paid him $80 for unlocking the car — Girlfriend and I cobbled the cash together.

Five minutes later, Husband showed up with the key. Still, it wouldn’t have been fair to Dale to send him away after he drove like crazy to get there.

Husband checked the spare tire, as Dale had done, and they both declared it good to go.

Our happy little caravan took off, and about 50 feet up the road, I saw that my son had pulled over again.

He had a blowout on the spare.

It’s times like these that try men’s souls, and their mother’s.

Our friend Dale was called again to tow the car. I couldn’t get my car started, which made me laugh hysterically. Then, I realized I had put it in neutral when I pulled over.

Husband stayed to wait on Dale and I took my son and Girlfriend to my parents’ house, where we ate bread, told our story and went to bed, finally.

We had a fun Fourth of July, but businesses were closed, so the tire situation had to be dealt with on Friday.

Husband took the kids home, so they could go to work.

They took another little road trip to pick up the car, put on a new tire and all was well.

I now have a spare key to my son’s car, new batteries for the flashlight in my emergency kit and a coat hanger in my car.

And Dale is on my Christmas card list.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 372-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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