There’s a certain type of Maine Guy.

I’m not sure what to call him; you’d know him when you see him. He’s always driving a pickup truck. If it was fancy once, it isn’t anymore. If there’s a dog in the truck, it’s either a hunting dog or the tiniest most frou-frou little dog you’ve ever seen. The bed of the truck is filled with tools and gear, and he knows how to use all of it. If he’s not a contractor or fisherman, one of his buddies definitely is, and he can get you a good deal. He’s always wearing at least one item of professional sports team gear; usually, but not always, the Pats. You know the type of Maine Guy I’m talking about, right?

My favorite quality of this Maine Guy is that he always manages to show up whenever I’m in vehicular distress by the side of the road. Which happens to me more than I’d like, mostly due to my purchasing of very used cars and my so-so driving skills. For example, this past week, when we got an entire winter’s worth of snow in seven days, I managed to get stuck on a hill on Route 1 while driving to work during one of the storms.

In defense of my Hyundai Elantra, it’s a good car with many wonderful qualities (backup camera, seat warmer, excellent fuel economy). It is not a winter wonder. And in my defense, I’m not a bad driver. I’m an OK driver who learned to drive in the winter with a Lincoln Town Car. That baby had a V8 engine with enough oomph to get you out of pretty much any snowbank you might find yourself stuck in.

But on this particular morning, the roads hadn’t been treated at the time I was driving (very slowly), and the snow was of the slick and slippery kind, which is great for sledding but not so great for a commute. Also, I didn’t have snow tires. Yes, in retrospect, not the greatest of my life choices; I realized the error of my ways as soon as my cute blue car sputtered to a stop in the middle of a long upward slope on the Midcoast’s primary roadway.

So there I was, completely stopped in the travel lane. Or maybe I was on the shoulder – at that point you couldn’t see the lines on the road anyway – and I considered my next move. I couldn’t go forward. I thought about maybe trying to reverse down to the bottom of the hill. I’d just heard on the radio that tow trucks were taking two or three hours to get to stranded callers. I didn’t have sand or kitty litter. I did have two blankets, a tarp and 20 pounds of birdseed.


Before I could make what would have undoubtedly been a very dumb decision, one of Those Guys pulled over in front of me. I would tell you his name if I knew it. In medias res, I forgot to ask. He was wearing a Patriot’s sweatshirt – no jacket, even though it was snowing – and driving a big silver Chevy.

“You stuck?”


“You OK?”

Oh yeah, totally fine.

“Let me give the car a little push, see if that gets you going again.”

He gave it the old college try, but pushing the Elantra – which is small but not tiny – got us precisely nowhere. Then he ran back to his truck, grabbed a shovel and scraped two 50-foot long paths up the hill through the slush so that I could align my front wheels with them. Keep in mind, all this is happening while cars are driving past us. He very well could have been hit by a (slow moving) vehicle at any time. The paths, combined with putting my car into “sport” mode, got me going again, up and over that damn hill. I tried to pay him, because I had cash in my wallet for once. But if you know This Kind Of Guy, you already know he would have none of it.

I try to be helpful to other people whenever the opportunity presents itself – although when it comes to car trouble, all I can offer is emotional support and a phone charger. But like a lot of people, I hate asking for help. There’s no telling how long I would have been stuck there in a problem of my own making if he hadn’t stopped to offer assistance. Until spring, probably. But it was a good reminder about humility and gratitude. Sometimes in life you’re the guy with the truck, and sometimes in life you’re the millennial stuck on the hill.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
[email protected]
Twitter: @mainemillennial

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