Helping people who are stuck?

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by oxendale, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. oxendale

    oxendale Member

    So here in Michigan we got a bunch of snow last night and me and my buddy were out cruisin around the backroads. We came across a minivan that was stuck so I pulled him out. Afterwards he said that he didnt have any cash but gave me a gas card and said there was $15 on it. I figured that was sufficient since I wasnt expecting to get paid anyway. Well later I went to use it and there was $68 on it! I was pleasantly surprised. Anyway I was just wondering do you guys usually help people who are stuck or just pass by? Normally I just pass by becuase I dont like the risk of possibly breaking something on their car. And if you do help people do you charge them or just do it to be nice? Just been thinking about this all day and thinking maybe I should help people who are stuck more often!
  2. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    This is a good question. Depends on what I'm doing, who they are and the overall situation.

    If it's a guy by himself and he's got a cell phone, I'm going to pass. If it's a little old lady, I'm going to stop ...
  3. oxendale

    oxendale Member

    Ya Steve thats a good point. Since it was a mnivan I figured maybe a mom with kids but it was a guy. He tried turning around in a little driveway and was off in the yard so it wasnt even really a mistake. I just laughed to myself.
  4. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    A few years ago, before we had kids, my wife and I would cruise around in my silverado with the 38.5's whenever it would snow heavily. I would pull people out all the time. I usually charged $20 each. Many times people would give me $50 or more, saying that if they had to pay and wait for a tow truck it would have been much more. One year, I think 2000, Michigan got blasted on January 2nd. The city that I lived in was shut down. I saw a tow truck stuck in a ditch. I pulled him out and he asked me if I liked cops and wanted to help one out. I said "sure". It turned out that the tow truck was attempting to go pull out a police car that was stuck for 3 hours. I found the cop and made him hook the strap to the front of his car. I pulled him about 2 miles out of the sub division with no muffler on the truck and the exhaust screaming in his face the entire way. When we got to the main road he took my info. A few minutes later he called my cell phone. They had an emergency and could not get the paramedics back to the home. I pulled up, 2 paramedics jumped in the bed of my truck with a bunch of equipment and a stretcher. I took them to the home and they checked the guy out. He turned out to be fine. A week after this a got a letter from the police department saying that my wife and I were receiving civil citations for helping out so much.
  5. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    This will be long in order to be complete.

    When I stop (which is usually), how I handle it depends entirely on the situation. Being in the south complicates the equation because there's no significant infrastructure for salting/sanding/plowing/clearing the roads. Most things shut down when there's so-called 'dangerous' weather, and people are advised to stay off the roads. This tends to last only a few days before it all melts or it's clear enough for the closures to lift.

    That basically places people out stuck in snow/ice/floods into one of several categories:
    1. People who -must- be out in it (doctors, nurses, first responders, power company employees fixing power lines, etc.)
    2. People I know or people (like me) who have lived where it snows/ices/freezes/floods, regularly, and know how to be reasonably careful/safe
    3. People with 4x4's who have no idea how to be reasonably careful/safe
    4. Peope who are ill-equipped and who have no idea how to be reasonably careful/safe

    How I handle things depends on the situation AND on the categories, above, as follows:
    • I believe we must all pull together in times of need, so if it's a declared emergency (think super storm, hurricane, etc.) where lives are in danger and if I'm out in the weather, I'll almost always stop to help anyone I can. If I'm tipped, that's a bonus, but people/lives come before money with me, so I expect nothing.
    • If it's NOT an emergency and I'm in a rural area where aid may be hours away (potentially placing people at risk despite it not being an emergency) I will generally stop and offer assistance, as follows:
      • If I determine the situation to be risky for those I stopped to help OR if they fall into categories 1 or 2, above, then, again, I expect nothing and tips are just bonuses.
      • If, however, I determine it's NOT a threatening situation AND if those for whom I stopped fall into categories 3 or 4, from above (i.e. people who should not be out in the weather), I make it clear that I'll help but that the towing and winching equipment on my truck wasn't free and that my time is also worth something.
    • If it's not an emergency and I'm in an urban area where aid should be relatively plentiful (compared to rural areas), I will generally stop and offer free assistance to anyone I find in category 1, above. From everyone else I require payment, as I'm there and am convenient whereas waiting for a wrecker may be a while ... and it's a non-emegency situation for people who need not be out in the weather. My only exception to this is for people I know.

    Some important notes as it pertains to charging people:
    • In addition to the above, I will not charge anyone I feel is economically strained. If it's a mom in a beater car trying to get food for her kids because she had no extra money to stock up ahead of the event, I get it and I ask for nothing. However, if it's some schlep in an all-wheel-drive Audi who feels entitled to a freebie just because I happen to have a truck and equipment, s/he can pay up, now, while I'm there and it's convenient ... or s/he can wait for a wrecker. (As rugged indivudualist, people with entitlement mentalities tick me off, by the way.)
    • I prefer cash but I carry an Intuit GoPayment device and smartphone charger in the truck at all times and have a smartphone via which I can take payment. I have also chosen the wireless carrier in my area with the best urban AND rural coverage in order to maximize my signal strength where I tend to be. Thus, if I have a data signal, lack of cash is zero excuse with me, and I'm prepared to run a card AND get a signature for it.
    • My towing, winching, and payment equipment was/is not free ... and the time, thought, and effort preparing my truck for emergencies is also valuable ... nevermind my time during the event, mobile device/carrier costs, and fuel costs. When I charge, I do so in order to offset the costs of such things. In our capitalistic society it is absolutely reasonable to expect appropriate compensation for services rendered during times when lives are not at stake. My opportunities to do so, here, are few ... so I make them count when I can. Keep in mind, though, lives and people come first with me, so I only charge when it makes sense to do so.
    • I charge a base of $25 to $50 depending on what I think I'll have to do to get the vehicle out of the mess it's in.
    • Idiots with 4x4's who failed to realize that 4WD doesn't help them stop any better are always charged the max base of $50 when I elect to require payment
    • Ford or Dodge truck owners are automatically assessed a 150% increase to the base -- so if it's a Dodge 4x4 I need to pull out then the owner can expect me to ask 75 clams to pull him/her out ... or s/he can wait for a wrecker. This is a matter of spite for Fords/Dodges and is done on general principle.
    • I have a two million dollar umbrella policy with my insurance company. I have this specifically to cover me as it pertains to all the things I can't foresee when it comes to firearms instruction, but it being an umbrealla policy means it also applies to weirdness like being sued after rendering good samaritan aid on a roadside, libel, and other things most folks don't ever think about.
    • I really should draft a waiver of damage liability, carry those with me, and require signature prior to rendering aid of a non-life-threatening nature. (Obviously if a guy needs me to put pressure on a gushing wound to try to stave off blood loss I'm not going to ask him to sign a waiver.)

    I rendered rural, non-emergency aid, last year, to two non-GM 4x4's. I wish I had humiliating, youtube-able videos of either vehicle being helped by my GMC!


    P.S. Part of my job entails business continuity planning for large corporate entities. Chance favours the prepared mind, so there's value in thinking things through before they happen and having a plan. Hence the detail level, here -- I gave a lot of thought to this long before I ever stopped to help someone ... so that I'd have the means to help people AND a game plan that was appropriate, reasonable and fair for all involved (myself, included).
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  6. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    In 1993 on Easter weekend we had a bad snowstorm when I was living near Atlanta, Ga. at the time I had a 91 Jeep Wrangler that I'd put a new Ramsey 8K winch on the weekend before, I spent all weekend driving around pulling out anything I could with that winch, didnt ask for a penny, just trying to be helpful.
    A few weeks later a lady that I'd pulled out of a creek bed saw my Jeep when we went to a local Dinner for dinner (the Jeep was distinctive since it was school bus yellow and had "Leon Rosser Jeep" at the top of the windshield) she and her husband came over and let us know that from then on whenever we visited their Diner our meals were free. Sometimes good deeds have a life of their own.
  7. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Well I have pulled out several people, and never charged a dime. I won't stop for anything but a Chevy period, kids or woman or whatever. I would never ask demand a payment, it's not what I do for a living. If I ever got stuck, and joe blow stopped and told me $50.00 to pull me out. I would tell him no thanks, I think it's kind of tacky.
  8. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I think i lost my last post...

    Surreal, that's the post of the year, haha. Going to share that with my Ford and dodge friends.
  9. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Sorry for the novel -- it was rather a lot to explain and I was as concise as possible. Soon I'll have a blackbox dash cam and might actually have videos if I render aid, this year. That could be fun if it's a Ford or Dodge!

    The dash cam will also be useful as it pertains to limiting liability, I think, especially if I get audio of someone agreeing to hold me harmless for any unintentional damage (prior to rendering aid, of course).

    People who do it for a living have made an investment in equipment (truck, chains, d-shackles, snatch blocks, winch, lighting, etc). You have done the same.

    I agree that it's tacky/inappropriate in emergencies when there are lives on the line. I also agree that it's tacky when we're talking about someone who cannot afford to pay for assistance. However, when you're conveniently there in a non-emergency situation ... and a wrecker is not ... and the person can obviously afford assistance, I am curious:

    • When there's no emergency/threat/poverty, why do you feel it is tacky for you to expect some assistance in paying for the equipment in which you have invested (and are putting to use on behalf of another) ... and for your time/effort ... but you do not feel it is tacky when a business does the same? At the root of it all, both are providing the same value to the consumer ... and compensation is in order when value is provided in a non-entitlement society and lives are not on the line, yes?
    • Convenience carries a premium in our society and, based on you being present when a wrecker is not yet there, you are actually providing more value to someone than the wrecker they'd have to wait on, as you are saving the consumer time (and time is money). Even at 50 bucks a pop you'd be undercharging for that value when you consider the investment you've made AND the time you're saving someone (and also potentially the fuel if they are trying to stay warm while stuck on the roadside in an area where they will have help in a few hours). Why, then, do you see giving someone a good deal (in terms of both time and money) as tacky when considering the value proposition?

    I am not trying to change your mind -- I'm simply trying to understand the mentality, as I don't happen to share it. I'm a capitalist who believes in rugged individualism. If I provide value to others who are less prepared (by being prepared, myself), compensation is, in my view, in order when there are no lives on the line and the person can afford the service you render. It covers costs and pays for time ... and at the rates I mentioned it's still a very fair/square deal for those assisted.

    Please share your rationale and logic... as I like to understand rational perspectives that differ from my own. If, however, yours is a purely emotional response then just say so, as that'll tell me everything I need to know. (i.e. It's not rational and there's probably no understanding it.)
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  10. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I pulled out my Bosses Son's Range Rover POS!! Last year.. Got pics somewhere had to Prove to him How much of a Unreliable POS his RR was..:lol:

Share This Page

Newest Gallery Photos