Julie drove down from Maryland and greeted us in the lobby of our hotel in Virginia. We had planned on having dinner at a nearby restaurant. As we were leaving the hotel it started to drizzle. I debated about running upstairs to get my umbrella but at Julie's suggestion I decided against it. After all, the restaurant was just around the corner. How wet could I get?
Julie used her powers of persuasion to convince Princess to try this little Italian restaurant she'd seen. Princess's first and only choice had been McDonald's, but she agreed to try something new. When we got inside the restaurant, Princess was thrilled that they had gummy bears in their reception area. She put a few in a cup and followed us in. Princess happily played on her iPad while she ate her cheese pizza as Julie and I chatted. I could sense that Princess wasn't exactly keen on Julie that is until Julie offered to help her pick out a dessert.
After we'd had our fill of both food and talk, Julie asked us if we'd walk her back to her car which was within walking distance. Unbeknownst to both of us, that darn car moved itself or else the parking garage moved. We spent the next two hours getting soaked in the rain while looking for the blasted car. We asked several people who worked at the mall where Julie parked her car where the elusive garage was. We followed their directions explicitly, but we were only following a rabbit trail. I was pretty worn out from all of the walking we had done earlier in the day so I was a little slow. Julie, however, was on a mission. Princess was caught in the middle. She kept asking a panicked stricken but composed Julie to slow down and wait for her mother. I felt bad that I couldn't keep up and Julie felt bad she couldn't find her car. Julie is a passionate person, but she kept her cool in all of this because she knew that if she lost her shizzle that Princess could lose hers as well. Since Julie's daughter is Autistic, she knows that would not have been a good scene for anyone. Besides I'd left the Ativan back in the hotel room. If I'd had it, I'm not even sure who I would have given it to.
At one point, Julie suggested that Princess and I go back to the hotel since we knew where that was. I told her that I could never live with myself if we left her to fend for herself and something happened. I remembered the military phrase, "No one gets left behind." Unbeknownst to many people, Julie has gone to bat for me on more than one occasion. What kind of friend would I be if I left her when she needed me most?
Finally, Julie was struck with a lightning bolt of an idea. She pulled out her iPhone and entered the address on her parking stub into her maps app. Neither one of us had even thought of that idea. Once she had the address and Siri talking to her, we found the car in no time flat. We all piled in and she drove Princess and I back to our hotel.
As she drove, I shed a little tear because in some small way I had repaid a little of the kindness this friend has shown me time and time again. Or maybe it was just a raindrop from my non-waterproof windbreaker. We'll never know.
I'm happy to report that Julie made it back home safely to her family. I made sure that she texted me when she got home.
Princess learned a valuable lesson in perseverance that epic night. I learned that I am blessed to have people like Julie in my life. What did Julie learn? The Mother of all Ketchups learned how to how Siri and I are her best friends.
Here's a picture of Julie and I before our epic adventure