On Monday my car caught on fire. And yes, I was driving it at the time.
Apparently there was this little piece of metal on the back of the battery that came disconnected. Really small thing. BUT it was the only thing keeping the stupid battery from turning itself into a fireball. There had been mysterious electrical problems for months -- mostly, I noticed, after driving on my friend's bumpy dirt driveway. Then suddenly Monday, Birch and I are tooling along Tunnel Road when -- SPARKS! SMOKE! HOLY CRAP -- FLAMES!!!! All shooting out from under the hood.
The engine died. Then it restarted. Then it died again. We were in the middle of the intersection trying to turn onto Riceville Road to get to my friend's house -- she of the Bumpy Driveway -- to pick up my daughter. A man in an electrician's truck shouts "Your car's on fire!" and I totally respond with this only-slightly-less-rude "No shit, dude!" sort of answer (which I later regretted). I got the engine to start again and pulled off the road into the parking lot of a Rite-Aid. Then we jump out of the flaming chariot, I pop the hood and Electrician Guy jumps out of his truck and -- I'm not making this up -- beats out the fire with a rag.
Seriously. Birch and I were ready to run and hide behind the nearest dumpster, and this total stranger jumps in and puts the fire out for me. Wow. He also disconnected the battery for us. How decent is that? Then he made sure we had AAA or something and drove off into the sunset.
The day just got weirder. We ended up spending a few hours in that parking lot after one dead cell phone; a couple of big, fat, time-consuming mix ups with AAA; a siren-blaring visit from the very-adorable guys of Fire Station #8, and finally the arrival of A.) My friend of the Bumpy Driveway and the Helpful Toddler Brigade (i.e. my daughter and her son), and B.) a super-helpful tow truck driver who actually just went on and replaced the battery for me right then and there.
Turns out that if Electrician Guy had not jumped in there and put the fire out when he did, either the engine would have been ruined OR the entire car would have just burned to the ground. So...THANK YOU Electrician Guy!!! I have no idea what your name is or even the name of the company you work for, but THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
Oh...did I mention that that same afternoon the wheel almost fell off my husband's truck? He almost didn't make it home. 3 out of the 5 lug nuts on one of his wheels were just GONE. Just like that. It was really strange.
So the next day, I call AAA again to get the truck towed to the shop. They LOVED that. And guess what? They sent out the SAME tow truck driver. When he called me to verify that he was coming, he asked "You're not having battery trouble again, are you ma'am?"