My worst nightmare travel experience was last summer of 2009. I was traveling with my sister and her three boys ages 10, eight and four. We were on our way to New York from a nearby suburb of Philadelphia.
We were traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike around 12:30 on a Friday afternoon in July. For a short while my sister was driving in the left lane. Just before we were about to pay the toll to go onto the George Washington Bridge, her van suddenly became disabled. I thanked God right away that we were in the right lane so that my sister could easily pull over on the shoulder. I have heard of stories of cars breaking down in the middle and left lanes, and then getting hit behind by other vehicles. I thought to myself, what a disaster that could have been.
For a little while I was remaining pretty calm. We got the kids and the dog out of the car right away because it was a hot day. We had called for help. Someone came but then told us the van had to be towed. We had called the police twice just to ask if someone could stay with us until help arrived. Unfortunately, that never happened which does not give me a good feeling about traveling on that highway. I would have been a little calmer if the cops were there.
We were calling a few people to see who could possibly come and pick us up. I was concerned for my sister because she was four months pregnant and she had said that she needed to get in an air conditioned place right away. Then suddenly she told me that she needed medical attention. That is when I started to panic. I called 911 for her and I figured if she was going to the hospital, what am I going to do with three kids stranded on the road until someone comes to get us? Fortunately, my sister found a cool place along the roadside and when she heard that someone was going to come and get us, she calmed down. Thank God, the ambulance never showed up. I would have been a total wreck if I was alone with the kids.
Then finally the tow truck showed up and we were only about a half a mile from a rest stop. The driver was nice enough to take us there until our ride came. Since we wanted the van to be towed near our house, I had to ride with the driver and I had to leave my sister and her three boys at the rest stop. I was very nervous because I wanted to make sure that she was fine before leaving and that she and the boys could get a chance to eat something.
Another nightmare was that I had to pay over $300 to get the van towed, but it was much easier having it brought to near where I lived in New York. Otherwise, we’d have to go back to New Jersey to pick it up. At that point, I did not care what it cost, I just wanted to get home.
I finally calmed down in the tow truck after I found out that my sister and her kids were picked up by a relative. This is something that I would not want to go through again. The stress and fright that I experienced that day, was just unthinkable.
I hope no one ever gets stuck on a road with kids, especially on a hot day. For me, it was a nightmare that I will never forget.