Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Asian Eyes' USA - Minnesota 911 and Angel

 I went to school in USA back in the early nineties.  The 5 of us from Gulf Coast continued onto our journey across Midwest America. We bade goodbye to Chicago after our dinner in Chinatown. Tony was driving while I navigated through the night. Our next stop was Minneapolis where Tan had a friend there, waiting for us to take us sightseeing. Just as we passed through Milwaukee, Tony exclaimed "Guys, the fuel meter only left 1/8, we have to find a gas station quick". He drove on and later he saw a Shell gas station signboard and did a quick exit from the highway. Alas, it was closed. We did this a couple of time, and every time all the gas stations were closed. Then it only hit on us that it was past midnight, on Boxing Day, where typically no one was working. "We should had top up in Chicago. The fuel indicator light is on minutes ago. Now what to do?", Tony asked me again. "I guess we have to call for help" I said. "Look, there is a rest area ahead. Pull ahead and let's call 911", I added. Tony stopped the car in the rest area while I ran into a phone booth and dialed 911. It was my first time to dial 911 so I did not knew what to expect. A lady operator answered my call and I related to her our predicament and location, somewhere between Milwaukee and Madison, in the state of Wisconsin. She mentioned a patrol trooper will be dispatched to check us out.  
We had to call 911 when we nearly 
ran out of gas in dead winter
 A patrol trooper arrived some 10 minutes later, with its blue signal spinning slowly, like a lighthouse light. However it stopped some 30 feet away from our car and an officer's voice blared out from the loudspeaker on its roof. "Get out of the car now and show me your hands". My friends and I exchanged looks but we did as we were told, hands above our heads, palms opened. We looks like criminals being caught by cops. Later we were asked to put our hands on our car's roof. There were 2 officers, one holding a revolver a distance away, while the other frisked our body for conceal weapons. The officer who did the frisking gave a thumb up to his colleague, and he put away his revolver. The 1st officer asked who called 911 and I identified myself. He proceeded to explain that he was wary the facts that 5 Asian guys, in dead winter, from way south, in the middle of nowhere, on Boxing day, calling 911. We showed them our car rental paper and our student ID. I told him that we were about to run out of gas and all the gas stations we pulled in were closed. "Hmm" he exclaimed, and then asked "You have money?". I was taken aback at the question, not knowing what that question lead me to. "Is he going to rob us?" that notion came to my mind. Nevertheless I blurted out a 'yes' and showed him my wallet which contained a couple of hundreds. The officers asked us to follow his car with our car.
Filling up in a deserted gas station 
with no soul in sight 
         The patrol trooper entered the highway and did  an U-turn up at an exit up ahead before pulled into a Texaco gas station that we have visited before. "That's weird" I told myself, not sure why the trooper turned into a closed gas station. The officer pulled out a bunch of key and activated a petrol pump. It turned out that he had the key to the gas pump and we were able to fill up our tank. The tally came up to $26.90 which I gave $30.00 in ten dollar bills, and said "Keep the change, officer. You have been a great help". He replied back "Sonny, I appreciate the intention but as a government officer I cannot take tips. Do you have exact change?". Oops! I goofed up again. I asked my friends and we came out negative. The officer walked to his counterpart and between them they were able to give back a change of $3.10 to me. As a parting note, the officer bade us good luck and not to be in same predicament again. We pulled out from the station and waved goodbye to them. Whew! That was quite an extraordinary situation, both for us and the state trooper too, I guess.
 As I drove on that night, a couple of hours later, I noticed some white flakes hitting the windscreen. My friends were all sleeping and I woke them up with a shout. "Guys, wake up, it is snowing". I pulled up at the next rest area and I exited into a full gale of snow falling. It was the first time for me in my life to see real snow fall. It was light and felt next to nothing but before long I were coated in a blanket of whiteness. As per my secret plot in Chicago yesterday, next, before anyone knew it, I took off my shirt and with just my pants on and 'ploof', I went headlong into a fresh snow in an open space next to the rest area.  Tan joined in. It was fun frolicking in the snow, and both of us did "angel" as well.  Here we go - 2 Asian guys from a tropical country, playing angel in the snow. Ha! Ha! Ha!, the rest of my friends had a good laugh at this hilarious scene but they did not join us. Luckily no state trooper was out and about at this ungodly hour of 4 am in the morning. Feeling satisfied, we cleaned up before we caught a cold and get ready to leave the rest area with the snow still falling. Wai took over the wheel as he had some experience to drive in snow during his part time working time in New York. We had a slow drive towards Minneapolis while I went into dreamland. 

A woman making snow angel 
on fresh snow

Angel has left, leaving her print

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