Stranger – {Hippie Hash}

There’s a time and place where any kind of language is completely appropriate.

This blog is not one of those instances.

Stalling (for the second time in one day) on a four lane road at the beginning of rush hour, however, is.

The string of words that fell, uncensored, from my mouth at that moment are too impure to disclose in this space, but, $@#%, they sure made me feel better.

I pleadingly turned the key in the ignition; eyes subconsciously glued to the rear-view mirror and the oncoming traffic behind me. Suffocating in the pollution of curses and encouraging coos mingling in the cab, I locked eyes with myself and was suddenly – regrettably – cognizant of the fear within me. There I was: terrified of being rear-ended, embarrassed by the sounds of not-too-far-off horns and furious with the “mechanic” who’d just traded me my car key for a short stack of Benjamins.

No, that’s cool Mr. Mechanic; I don’t care if you didn’t actually, you know, do your job. Here, have some money.

It’s cool.

For realz.

I promise.

I don’t remember how many times I tried, but I knew – likely a short time after someone yelled some rather unkind words in my direction – that I was not capable of convincing the car to start.

After careful examination of my mirrors and blind spot, I shifted into neutral and flung open the driver-side door. But, no sooner had I wedged myself between it and the body of the car, a voice came from behind:

“Get in!”

Being so frustrated, it took me a moment to understand what was happening. But, as soon as I understood, I was granted relief like I’ve never known.

With hands planted firmly on the back of the car, the nameless man had already started pushing it off the road.

“Thank you so much,” came my frazzled response as I ducked into the car as weightlessly as I could manage.

The exchange was so fast – too fast – and it was over before I’d fully internalized it. With nothing more than a single exasperated grunt, he’d pushed the car up a pretty substantial incline and into a parking lot.

By himself.

And as I looked in the rear-view one last time, I saw only his back as he lunged off the running board of his over-sized white truck and slammed the door behind him.

Did that just happen? I thought, confused and shocked about having my fury so suddenly replaced with disbelief. The light had been green when he’d seated himself, and he was long gone before I could completely comprehend just how much I wanted to hug him and bake him “thank you” cakes every day until the end of time.

Before I even called my [former] “mechanic,” I fell into a daze pondering what I have come to consider the most profound event, thus far, of my life. I hurts to admit that I don’t know the man’s name or face – particularly that I won’t recognize him if I ever do see him again – but I hope he knows that I am forever grateful for his kindness and the selfless way in which he helped me. On a day when absolutely nothing seemed to be going according to plan, he made me feel better. He made me feel happy.

So, when the tow truck driver finally arrived to pick up my car, I greeted him with tears in my eyes – tears of joy, of course – and with faith restored in the human race.

Maybe my wheels are toast. But, you know what? Things are all right.

Hippie Hash inspired by Fleetwood’s
What? No cake? Bear with me; this is a breakfast dish inspired by another local favorite that is, appropriately, not far from where my car stalled. If you need a break from leftover cake for breakfast, give this comforting dish a try. Don’t skimp on the feta! Serve as a breakfast side to bacon and eggs or as (my favorite) a meal in itself. Maybe with some dry rye on the side…

Serves 2+ as a meal. All of these measurements are to taste, by the way, so feel free to mix it up.

Printable Recipe

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 – 1 c sliced mushrooms
2-3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 head of broccoli, diced

Heat a glug of olive oil in pan over medium heat. When hot, add onion, salt, and pepper, sauteing until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add potatoes, tomato and broccoli to pan and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes and broccoli are tender. Remove from heat and portion among plates, allowing family/guests/self to sprinkle heavily with feta, the best cheese of them all, before serving.


  1. says

    At first I was intrigued when I saw the name.. :) Then I scrolled down and I dismissed this because I thought those were water chestnuts (ughh). When I realized they were potatoes, I became downright giddy. You may call it what you want, but I call it dinner tonight! Thanks!

  2. says

    What a wonderful man! I love those kinds of random acts of kindness.<br /><br />On another note, you hash looks great. Warm and comforting and beautifully photographed too :-)

  3. says

    I had a car accident two winters back, but I was the one doing the rear ending. So I know the fear you describe here. With black ice everywhere, I don&#39;t know how nobody bashed into me as well. Shortly after colliding, cars both in front of and behind me did these insane gymnastic flips into the ditch.<br /><br />I&#39;m glad you&#39;re okay, and without collision. What a lucky turn of events:)

  4. says

    Kaitlin, Great story! It always amazing me how kind people can be, just when you really need it.<br />And your hippie hash looks delish. Sounds like you deserve a little comfort food:)<br />-Erin

  5. Sandy says

    I have to tell you, I have been reading your blog and making your recipes for a long time, but this one takes the cake…uh no punn intended! I have been feeling a little down today as tomorrow is my birthday, not a hugely significant one, but a little depressing non the less. However, your story has lifted my spirits and inspired me! Doesn&#39;t the kindness of strangers restore your faith in

    • says

      This is such a sweet comment – I am happy to have been able to help! I&#39;m not a big fan of birthdays, myself. They always get me a little down. I hope it was a great day!

  6. Anonymous says

    glad you got the car out of the road w/o anything more serious happening. and yes doesn&#39;t the kindenss of strangers just warm your heart and restore your faith in the human condition at times?<br /><br />but why breakfast?? personally it looks pretty darn good for dinner and/or any old time.

    • says

      Thanks very much! <br /><br />And honestly… You&#39;re right. It&#39;s super tasty as leftovers if you make a big batch in the AM πŸ˜‰

  7. Karen says

    Wow Kaitlin, the kindness of strangers really does restore your faith in the human race. I&#39;m constantly surprised (in a good way) by people and their affect on each other. Something probably insignificant to the man who helped meant the world to you……..this just makes me smile. <br />This is why whenever I can help someone else I always do. You never know what it will mean. <br />You&

    • says

      It truly does. You&#39;re completely right; I bet he had no idea what it meant to me at all. <br /><br />Your comment brightened my day, BTW. The world needs more people like you :)

  8. says

    I love moments like those – sometimes it&#39;s better when you can&#39;t thank them because that means now you need to just &quot;pay it forward&quot; – thanks for sharing the story Kaitlin – and the recipe too. They both made my day.

  9. Anonymous says

    maybe he is one of the five you will meet in heaven so you can thank him. i have some i will thank, and some i know who will thank me. so happy it ended well

  10. says

    Oh man your car was stalled in the middle of the road?! You poor thing. And thank goodness for that act of kindness from the man who pushed your car!<br /><br />As for this hippie hash, I love it! I get to use up all my leftover veggies!

    • says

      Yes…. It was not the best day for me πŸ˜› I love that man though!<br /><br />And right!?! It&#39;s a great &quot;dump&quot; kinda dish. Noms :)

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