And *THAT* Is Why Hams Rule

So Stephanie and I were watching the opening ceremonies for the 2004 Summer Olympics, and we decided to head out to get some stuff around 2200. I needed soda for work and home, and we figured we’d get a couple other things while we’re out. Headed to the local ShopRite, got the stuff we needed, and came home.

As I’m backing into a parking spot, we both notice a rather large man with his shirt hanging open, whom we’ve never seen in the area before, just hanging around one end of the parking lot. I park the truck, turn off the lights and unbuckle my seatbelt, and this guy’s just staring at the truck. After a couple words between us, I re-buckle my seatbelt, turn the lights on and pull out of the spot, heading back out to the road. “Now what do we do,” my wife asks. Well, I don’t want to call 911 for something like this, since it’s not an emergency, and I don’t like dialing that number unless there’s something really bad happening (though I’m sure someone right now is thinking, “This is bad enough, dial the damned phone.”) So I grab my radio and tune in a local repeater. “W2SRH mobile, anyone on frequency?” No response. Tune in another repeater. “W2SRH mobile, anyone else on frequency?” “This is KC2MBY, what can I do for you?” Perfect. I ask Scott to look up the phone number for the local police non-emergency number, and he gives me one. Then said that if that number didn’t do it, let him know and he’d look for another one, or if it came down to it he could call some friends of his in the NJ State Police and work from there.

Why have I told this story? Because the same thing could’ve happened if I had no cell phone at all, or if I had no signal on it or the battery was dead. Scott, a person I’ve never met before in my life, could’ve saved my life had the situation been much worse. And even though it wasn’t, he certainly helped me out, someone whom he’s never met either, just in the spirit of what made us get into this hobby. This is what amateur radio is all about, people finding things they enjoy, experimenting with new technologies and ideas, and helping out their fellow hams and non-hams alike.

Oh, and the creepy guy in the parking lot? No idea – on a return drive-by of the lot, we saw him crossing the street and heading away, and when I returned a third time just after that, we watched him walk away. Took that opportunity to park and get our stuff, head inside. Called KC2MBY back once I got in the apartment and thanked him again for his assistance, let him know that we were safe and inside.

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