One for the Team


January, 2000

"Goddammitmother. . ." Lindsey jiggled the door handle again, trying to make it suddenly open. "I can't believe I did it. Shit!"

Suddenly the thirty-something blonde morphed into a two-year-old and in the middle of a street in Atlanta, Georgia, amongst thousands of other people milling around, she threw a tantrum. Not just any tantrum, either, but one worthy of the most obnoxious child you've ever met, replete with stomping. The only problem with the stomping, outside of looking plain foolish, was the unprecedented ice storm that had hit Georgia this cold January day. It was so cold, if there had been a flagpole around, no doubt there would be an eight-year-old boy stuck to it.

"I." stomp "can't." stomp "believe." Stomp "I." stomp "freaking." Stomp "locked" stomp "my" stomp "freaking" stomp "keys" stomp "inthecar." Stomp stomp..."OUCH!" Lindsey cried, as she fell in the road. She tried to get up but the ice was too slippery to let her get some good traction. The harder she tried to get up the more she looked like a crab trying to scurry down a beach. People were walking past her like she was invisible and frankly, that's what she wished she were just about now. Everyone was in a hurry to get out of the chilled air and back into their cars and then to get out of the traffic jam.

The emotion of the day and situation had become too much and Lindsey folded her arms over her bent knees, dropped her head and sobbed.

"Excuse me, ma'am?" a tentative voice called from above, etched with concern. "Ma'am, do you need some help?"

Lindsey couldn't answer. Here she was in the street, on her butt, unable to get back up, locked out of her rental car, in an ice storm and when finally someone stopped to help, she just cried harder. The stranger gently pulled Lindsey up by the arm so she was standing upright again. And this wonderful act of kindness made Lindsey, you guessed it, cry even harder than before. She was crying so hard at this point, she had to take large gasps of air just to stay alive.

"Hey, hey, it's ok," warm arms enfolded her. "Did someone hurt you?"

Lindsey could only shake her head into the stranger's shoulder.

"Are you lost?"

Again, Lindsey shook her head.

"Are you that upset over the game?" and with that Lindsey nodded then shook her head.

"Can't make up your mind? Don't tell me, you must have been for the Titans." The stranger joked to try and stop the hemorrhage of tears.

Finally, Lindsey was able to smile, not yet able to stop the tears, though. "Oilers," she rasped out. "They will always be the Oilers to me. And they were robbed! I couldn't believe they really ran out of time at the 1-yard line! We should be watching overtime right now."

"Aha! I got you to talk. I wasn't sure you weren't deaf or dumb for a minute."

"I am dumb," Lindsey replied, "I locked my keys in the rental car and. . ." Lindsey pulled back from the stranger and met her gaze. When their eyes locked, Lindsey became mute, too. It was as if she were on a roller coaster that had just taken the first huge drop. The spell was only broken when a snowball went whizzing by their heads.

"You locked your keys in the rental car? Is that why you were crying?"

"I guess; that and falling down and not being able to get back up. No one would stop and help and that made me feel pretty stupid. But out of nowhere, a hero came and rescued me." Lindsey blushed and offered a shy smile.

The stranger puffed out her chest, which was impressive before, but now. . . "Allow me to introduce myself, ma'am. My name is Samantha. Sammie for short."

Lindsey took the proffered hand and shook it. "Do you make it a habit to rescue poor maidens in need of help?" Lindsey asked in a flirty voice and was quietly shocked at herself; she'd never been this bold in her life.

"Well as it turns out, it's kind of my job." Samantha responded.

The look of confusion on Lindsey's face prompted her to continue.

"You see, I'm a firefighter. I have to save lives; I've taken an oath." With that Sammie gave her best boy-scout salute. "One of L.A.'s finest at your service."

"I see, a Ram's fan no doubt. Apparently, we don't play on the same team. And so, as a firefighter, do you come and rescue any damsel in distress? And here I thought I was special." Lindsey put on her best heartbroken expression. Her tears were now long gone.

"Honestly?" Sammie moved closer to Lindsey and in her best conspiratorial voice added, "you're the first." Then Sammie completed the look by covering her mouth with her hand as if someone were trying to hear what she were saying, "and I don't think we play on different teams."

"Oh good, I feel special again." Lindsey said smugly taking note but not mentioning the comment about the teams. However, in the back of her head, "We Are Family" started playing.

"You know, something about you tells me that you are a very special person." Sammie had the greatest grin and used it to her full advantage.

Lindsey blushed. Another snowball was thrown their way and again, broke the magic.

Sammie cleared her throat. "Well, what about us seeing how to get your rental agency out here to let you into the car. I have my cell phone and we can wait in my rental while they get here."

"You would do that for me?" Lindsey was genuinely surprised.

"Of course I would. After all, what kind of hero would I be to leave you here without solving your problem?"

Gingerly, the two women walked over to Sammie's rented SUV. Lindsey pulled out the rental car paperwork she'd shoved in her pocket and made the call. As she folded the phone closed she informed Sammie that the rental agency would be out but it would be at least three more hours.

"Hey, I have an idea," Sammie proclaimed. "Let's have dinner." She pointed at a close-by restaurant with the open sign still flickering in the window. "We can watch your car from there and come out when they get here with your key."

"That's a great idea." And with that the two women walked into the greasy diner near the Georgia Dome and changed each other's lives forever.


January 2006

"Mommy, did you lock your keys in the car again?" the cherubic three and a half year old asked around his thumb as her mom fiddled with the car door in the garage. "Mama tells me all the time of how you did that because you wanted to meet her."

"She does, huh?" the bright, green eyes sparkled and looked across the garage at her suddenly shy partner. "Well, hero, why don't you come over here and help your poor, pregnant wife with this locked car since you're so good at it."

Sammie walked over and lifted the little boy above her and over to Lindsey. "And now, Billy, tell your mommy what else I said about that day."

"Dat you named me after Billy 'Whiteshoes' Johnson?"

"No, the other thing."

"Dat it was the best day of your life and that's why you have me?"

"Yep, that's the one." Sammie walked with the boy over to Lindsey and then both bent down to kiss her cheeks. "It was the luckiest and best day and the luckiest and best decision ever in my life. And now I have you both. I just love Superbowl Sunday."