• Member Since 26th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen 10 hours ago


A good story isn't measured by how long it is, but by how long it stays with you.

  • TInto the Dark
    Equestria has fallen to a curse of eternal darkness. Together with the spirit of Luna, a stallion seeks to return the sun and moon to the sky, before the Devourer consumes all.
    Corejo · 65k words  ·  130  5 · 2.1k views

More Blog Posts193

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Real Life, and What Comes With It, Part Three: A Father's Day Regret · 3:38pm Jun 21st, 2016

This was meant to be a Father’s Day blog, but real life saw to that.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the day and had no shortage of manly power tools and gardening gadgets. In light of that, I thought I’d share a story from my life related to this little holiday of ours. I’ve never told a soul, but it’s a story I’ve been meaning to get off my chest in some form for a while now.

For those that don't care, I'm tagging this to notify Into the Dark readers that I will be updating that story either today or tomorrow. Sorry for the delay on updates; proofing has been slow due to other fandom stuff I'm devoting my time to. The rest of you, feel free to click.

About three/four years ago, while still in college—either sophomore or junior year (I forget which)—I worked my summers off at the Giant Eagle down the road from my parent’s house. Was a rather boring job, being a cashier: scan items for a crowd of mostly untalkative people and the more-often-than-occasional rude customer, wearing a fake air of contentedness all the while. (Mind you the people I worked with were great, and quite a few fun and friendly personalities came through my line regularly, but excluding those, the job was ugh…)

That particular Father’s Day, I had recently seen and loved the movie The Next Three Days, with my now-ex—which I still heartily recommend to anyone to this day (the movie, not her :trollestia:). Anyway, I had it in my head that I’d buy the movie because it had just come out on dvd and we had it stocked at the front of our check-out shelves. A perk of working in a grocery store: buy whatever you need when you clock out.

The day went along smoothly, and I got my copy, eager to take it home and spend the day with my dad. Walked out to my car, got in, and was about to start the engine when this guy came up to my window.

Big guy, fifty-something, had on an Air Force t-shirt. Motioned with his hand to roll down my window, so I did. He started going off about how he was a captain or something or other higher up in the Air Force and that he messed up last night and got drunk and in trouble and that I looked like an up-standing, young guy and that he needed help getting back to Rickenbacker before his shift or he was in bigger trouble. It took me a moment to piece together all he was saying, the way he was running on and on and on with his sentences.

All of it seemed fishy, no shortage of alarm bells going off in my head that he would single me out, but, I mean, I was the only person getting into a car in that parking lot, so it wasn’t that farfetched he approached me of anyone there.

He told me that the cop who regularly stands at the front of our store brought him there after a night in the tank to hopefully get a lift the rest of the way to Rickenbacker, since the cop wasn’t legally allowed to take him anywhere else while on shift.

Reasonable enough explanation. Confirmed it with the cop, and we were on our way to the impound lot to get his pick-up truck.

He pointed it out, we talked to the guy working there, and I fronted the twenty bucks needed to get the keys, which he promised he’d pay back with what he had in the truck.

Got him his keys, he got the twenty out for me, but I declined. When he asked why, I just smiled while walking back to my car and said “Happy Father’s Day,” and drove home to hang out with my dad.

Except I didn’t do any of that.

In reality, he gave me his spiel from the other side of my car door window, and while a small part of me believed every word he said, those alarm bells rang louder than anything I’ve ever heard in my life, before or since. And so it was that I, 6’2” 150lb skinny-ass fuck without a pound of muscle to my name, sat there in my car, staring up at this guy that I’ve no doubt weighed two of me with an arm or leg to spare towering outside my window, asking with no small amount of desperate insistence to get in my car.

You truly don’t know how small you can feel until you’re in that sort of situation.

I didn’t even have the balls to say no. All I could do was stare up at him, feebly shake my head, and watch while the glimmer of hope for a show of humanity died in his eyes. That might sound dramatic, but it’s the only way I can describe it.

He walked away, and I sat there a moment in my car, mind racing a mile a minute over what the fuck just happened, before I started the car and headed home.

I turned onto the long stretch home to watch this amazing movie with my dad, but the whole time I could only think about that guy. I thought about how I could have gone and corroborated his story with the cop, could have taken him to the impound lot and done my good deed for the day. But again, I didn’t. I was too scared and too wrapped up in my own shit that I didn’t stop and think about someone else.

And as if God just really wanted me to feel like a piece of shit for what I did, it started fucking raining.

I was about halfway home when common sense caught up with me. Here was a fifty-something year old man in the Air Force asking for a lift, a man who after that much life lived no doubt had a kid or two of his own.

And I told him to piss off on Father’s Day.

I flipped a bitch in someone’s driveway and went back. The rain was coming down hard by the time I turned back onto Fifth, and the 20-ish meter dash from my car to the store entrance had me looking like I climbed out of a pool.

I found the cop and asked him about the Air Force guy. He backed up all of the guy’s claims and said that he had no idea where he went after bringing him there.

I got back in my car and went looking. I spent maybe ten minutes driving around the area, but with how the rain still hadn’t let up and the simple fact that he could be anywhere by now, I gave up and headed home.

My parents were happy to see me, and I was no less excited to see them and watch the movie again. But even though the movie was as amazing the second time around, I could hardly keep my eyes from the rain lashing against the patio doors and thinking of the man I had let down that day.

I can’t hate myself for my choice. Survival instincts are a thing, and I won’t lie in saying that was the biggest Stranger Danger situation I’ve ever been in. But still, I can’t help this regret inside me.

I don’t know his name or what’s become of him by my actions or otherwise, but I wish I had done things a little more along the lines of that first scenario. Had a clear head, you know? Thought things through before shaking my head like I wanted to hear the rocks inside.

I hope he made it back okay. And as much as it hurts to say it, hoping is all I can do.

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Comments ( 4 )

We all make mistakes, and have taken actions which we regret, the point is to not dwell upon them and use them to move forward.

And, Hey, at least you have a relationship with your father. I don't even know where my dad lives at the moment. (Last I heard he was squatting in the woods.)


Truly moving story. It's amazing what things stay with us over time. Sometimes all we can hope for is to do better next time.

Thank you for sharing.

If it's any consolation, the fact that you didn't find him with ten minutes' driving around the area most likely means that he went out to the street, stuck out his thumb, and someone else pulled over and gave him a ride.

(And for the record, I've pulled a car out of impound before. Cost was in the triple digits. It would have been eighty bucks but the impound guy jacked the rates up after a disagreement with the driver. I'd be dubious that there's a place in the country where recovery is that cheap.)

If it's any further consolation, I've been in that position before — on both sides of the equation. When I was in high school, on a whim I took an afterschool trip up to a local observatory, and on the way back down, I hit a patch of gravel a little too fast and my car slid off the road, balanced on its undercarriage on the edge of a 15-foot cliff, rear wheels dangling off in midair. I extracted myself from the car and tried to flag down help. I don't remember a thing about the people who didn't stop, but I do remember Lizard, the dude in the pickup truck who did, and how he helped pull my car back to safety.

I've had many chances to pay that forward, in big and small ways. The one that springs immediately to mind is that I ran across a severely drunk guy at a gas station one night when I was driving home from work, who was looking for his keys, and convinced him that they'd been lost (after finding and pocketing them), and drove him home to his wife down 45 minutes of twisty mountain roads in the complete opposite direction from my place; I probably saved his life. I try to make a point of picking up hitchhikers in general, because I cashed in a lot of hitchhiker karma on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike; I can't always, and I always feel bad when I can't, but the times when I can, I do make the world a better place. (Speaking of hitchhiking, there's only one time I ever regretted a hitch, and it's a hell of a story.)

I guess what I'm trying to say there is, it didn't work out. And maybe that blame is legit. But you didn't make the world a worse place; you reacted how the average person would, in a situation with a total stranger and legitimate fears — and more importantly, I very much doubt that'll be the moment that defines your character for life. You'll be put in that situation again, and next time — especially with this under your belt — you'll get to be the hero in some other way.

I don't think anyone but that dude himself can really forgive you, so I won't try, but I think you're pretty cool regardless.

You went back.
The universe was watching.
You are a better man for it all.
That is how the game works.
You are okay.

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