Dear dinos on my dash,
Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for reminding me of my friends. Thank you for keeping watch over my car when I’m not there. Thank you for introducing me to new people. Like that one time on the drive from Boston to Virginia…
I had pulled over at a rest area, hungry for some munchies and desperately needing to charge my phone in a real outlet. My car charger was fried and instead of using a map and listening to a CD, I had been running GPS and Pandora and was quickly sucking the life out of my little phone. I believe by this point, I had only made it to about New Jersey. It was going to be a long ride. On my way into the rest area, I had a guy tell me there was a major accident on the road ahead and I should take my time at the rest stop. I looked at the road and saw cars flying by, so I ignored his advice.
I found an outlet, in a window, and awkwardly sat there watching people as my phone trickle-charged. Every once in a while I would pretend to check my email or Facebook, just to look a little more normal. Eventually I was satisfied that I had enough power to make it to the next rest stop down the road. I bought a sandwich and headed back to my car.
Now there you were, my dearest dinos, watching me wolf down a roast beef sandwich when a strange man walked past our windshield. He motioned and waved and mouthed, “I love your dinosaurs.” This, of course, was a typical reaction. You and I were used to that. I smiled and waved, and he walked by. But then he came back and walked up to my passenger window, indicating that I should roll it down. I cracked it just enough so that I could hear what he was trying to say.
“Would you like to make some money?” he asked. Now I know what you’re thinking, I should’ve turned on my car and driven off as quick as I could. But if I had done so then, that would mean that now my story would be over. He continued, “I’d like to take a nap in my car, and I would feel better if I knew someone was keeping an eye on my car while I was sleeping. The traffic is terrible, and it’s not like you’re going to get anywhere right now. It’ll only be for like 45 minutes or so. You never have to get out of your car. I’ll pay you $300.” I looked at the traffic, which was now completely stopped. The man had a point. I really wasn’t going anywhere. I looked at you, my dashboard friends, and thought, “It couldn’t hurt.”
So I backed up my car into the space next to his, keeping my doors locked and windows only cracked. I started texting my mom with the little battery power I had, just in case something were to happen to me. I also made each of you, dashboard dinos, promise to grow full size the moment things started to look like things were going downhill. This man was no match for our little dino army. He got into his car, put up some towels over his windows and I waited. The time went by so quickly and less than 30 minutes later he came out and handed me $300. He thanked me for taking the time out of my travels to help him feel safe. It turns out he was an engineer and of course, my physics side immediately started geeking out and we had a wonderful conversation. He gave me his card, told me to call if I wanted to bring him in to do a special presentation to my class and we parted ways.
So my dearest dinos, what did I learn from this encounter you ask? The world isn’t completely full of people with bad intentions. Sometimes someone else just needs you to look out for them too. Be safe, make wise choices, and you never know who you’ll meet when you keep dinos on your dashboard.