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Stranded until 'Ricky' stopped

Published Nov. 29, 2006

My wife and I drove to St. Petersburg last week for dinner. We never did get to eat. Somewhere down by the Pier we picked up a nail and a tire went flat. Things got worse when I discovered I didn't have a lug wrench.

We called the police. When they found out there was no crime or accident, they connected us to a wrecker service. Even after a repeat call, the wrecker never showed up, and we were stranded for more than three hours outside BayWalk. At least two police officers cruised by, ignoring our flashers and my waving.

Realizing that all I needed was a lug wrench for five minutes and that no official help could be bothered, I began to flag down passing motorists. Hundreds went by.

Finally, a fellow named Ricky stopped. He was driving an ancient pickup truck filled with construction debris. We sweated a bit, jacking up the car and changing the tire, but we got it done. I thanked him earnestly.

To all the motorists who passed me by, please consider this: Next time your wife or daughter is stranded on the roadside, you had better hope that Ricky happens by.

Eric Schiller, Tampa

Smoking is selfish

In an attempt to explain the litter of cigarette butts' being thrown from automobiles to the Oct. 22 letter writer (Why can't smokers keep their butts in their cars?), I have this to offer: Cigarette smoking is a selfish habit. The secondhand smoke that has been proved to cause cancer in innocent bystanders is seldom a concern to smokers, so the littering is unlikely to weigh heavily upon their minds.

I have a friend who, while driving, observed the careless tossing of a lit cigarette out of a moving vehicle. The burning projectile traveled upon a random wind that led directly into his eye. Since learning of my friend's unfortunate incident, my policy is to offer volatile protest upon witnessing this potentially injurious form of littering - which is very often.

Stephanie Goodhue, St. Pete Beach