Kingman Wash, Arizona

(Near Hoover Dam)

The steep, three mile dirt road was frightening to drive but worth it. Camping near the water after months in the desert was so refreshing. It was free and included wild burros and Big Horn Sheep.

A quiet handful of campers during the week transformed into a big, noisy weekend crowd. A bit overwhelming for me but that's when things get interesting.

Friday night around 10 pm I was sitting in my car when I heard a commotion. I noticed three twenty somethings had managed to get their car stuck in the sand. The two guys were doing everything wrong to resolve the situation. They were burying the wheels deeper and deeper. The young woman with them was yelling (language) to stop and deal with it in the morning.

I was not going to get involved in the dark. So I went to sleep.

In the morning they were still stuck. Surprisingly, no other campers had offered them help. I drank my coffee and waited.

Finally this rough and tumble band of young'uns were done trying. I felt it was safe to approach. Fold up shovel in hand, I carefully headed over to offer help.

I was quite aware that I was old enough to be their grandmother. I also wanted to be careful not to embarrassed or offend these young people.

"Stuck hey?"

They all stood up starting to talk at once.

"Would you mind if I took a look?" I asked.

A resounding yes, please look.

Front wheel drive car.

Front drivers side wheel buried halfway. Sand and rocks up to the engine block.

Rear passenger side wheel was no longer touching the ground. Yes, up in the air!

I walked around and looked underneath. I carefully said "What I would do is dig a straight path in front of the car for both front tires. Dig out the dirt and rocks out from under the engine. This path should be gently sloped. Put something, like your car mats, in front of the the front tires and then pull out very slowly.

Another man showed up to help. One of the young men asked him "what would YOU do?" He quickly reply"I agree with her. Sounds like she has done this before"

This was not lost on the young woman who owned the car. "YOU GUYS DO WHAT THE LADY TELLS YOU, RIGHT NOW! START DIGGING"

And did they start digging!

The time came to give it a try. "Keep the wheels straight and go very, very slow" I explained.

The car rolled seamlessly out of the sand. Then a big cheer. Huge smiles and hand shaking all around. Such relief.

.....

My dad told me you can only help people who want help. Sometimes you have to watch them struggle and fail first. Then go in gently and ask if you can help. Be willing walk away quietly if they resist.