Pothole + Tire = Snap goes the tie rod


That's feeling - and sound - my car made as it hit a pothole behind the Stonybrook Market in Hillsboro, Virginia on Sunday. I was making what I call the "WINE RUN" to pick up some membership wines which I get every quarter from one of my favorite wineries.

"Ooof" said my friend Jordan, as I noticed what felt like drifting from my car. I pulled out onto the major road and noticed the steering on my car was sluggish. I got to the light and went to turn left, thinking I could get to the Old Stone School across the street to see what was up, and that's when I realized something was wrong with the steering.

I put on the four-way emergency flashers. Traffic at the light started to back up behind me. No damage visible to the body of the car, but there was something dangling behind the tire.

A tie rod.

I got back in the car, hit the on-board SOS button to call for roadside assistance. And one by one, Samaritans from this snall Virginia enclave in Wine Country came up to see if I was alright.

One couple directed traffic. Another called the local Sheriff to come assist.

One of the people - Bryan - came up to me, smiled and says "I was telling my wife, Julie, that you looked a lot like Toby Knapp... and you are! You probably don't remember me, but you gave me tickets to see THREE DOORS DOWN at Bunker Sports Cafe years ago."

I was legit mind-blown. Here, at this random time and random place years later, this guy - and his wife - showed up out of nowhere to render aid. His wife and my friend Jordan went to the market to have a sandwich. The Sheriff, who showed up a few moments later - had actually helped Brian and his wife when they were rear-ended not three weeks earlier!

We caught up over small talk, lamented unforeseen car expenses, talked about life and career moves, health stuff he'd heard about. It seems he'd kept tabs on me over the years since that appearance back at Bunker, which, come to find out, isn't Bunker anymore.

Roadside assistance alerted me that they'd be on scene in a couple of hours. Brian and his wife took Jordan and I to Dulles, where I rented a car (from National/Enterprise, by the way), and we were back on the road... albeit in a new ride.

Amazing how life... is a series of coincidences. Once, someone told me that when you encounter coincidence, after coincidence, it's life showing you that you are traveling along the right path in this life. Sure, I don't know what the reasons are - and yeah, sometimes the experiences along the journey aren't always great, but they always lead you to where you need to be.

A bit of traffic on the beltway causes you to be just a bit late. A trip to an ATM to get out some cash might nudge you in a certain direction for a certain encounter.

A pothole and a blown tie rod might just lead you to reconnect with someone you once met years ago... who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.


Wait, there's one more...

The sun set Sunday evening at the winery. Jordan and I were recounting the day's events when a 95 year old woman scooted by on a golf cart to feed the ducks and geese in the pond at the winery.

Her name is Hope. She's the matriarch of the family which owns the winery. Her family have been so good to me over the years, and I'm aware that the road ahead may not be as long as the one which stretches behind us.

"Well, that looks like Hope..." I said to a smile. Her eyes lit up. We talked as the sun set. Chatted about life and family... and... hope.

Another coincidence. Thanks to a pothole and a broken tie rod.

What a life. I'm so thankful to live it.



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