When starting out in a relationship, you want things to be perfect. If you’re on a date and spill red wine on your shirt, it can seem like the end of a romance that never started.
In reality, it’s not so bad and the evening likely isn’t over.
But what happens when you go on a weekend date, to a city three hours away, with a person you’ve known only three months and the car breaks down in the middle of the highway?
Do you continue or is that the end of the date as you know it?
We could have cancelled at this point, but thankfully we didn’t. We pressed on to try to make the best of it and as a result we learned things about one another that could have easily taken years to discover.
Weekend in the Windy City
When we started dating, we found a shared interest in travel and exploring new places. So we thought why not go on a weekend getaway? We decided on Chicago and booked a hotel right on the Magnificent Mile.
The drive was only three hours and the first two were great! The skies were clear and sunny and surprisingly there wasn’t much traffic for a Friday afternoon.
Another thirty minutes of driving and we were coming up to the city. The widely-recognized skyline was just within reach.
As we drove up the Skyway Bridge the steering wheel started shaking and the car began making a lot of noise! Artur barely had control…and we were going 60mph.
He slowed down and tried to move over, but there was no shoulder to park on. We had to keep going to find a place to stop.
In the distance we saw golden arches. It was like a small miracle! Who would have guessed that there was a Mcdonald’s between the highway up ahead?
We pulled into the parking lot to see what was wrong. The shock absorber had detached and there was no way to continue driving.
As you can imagine, it was awkward and we both sensed the date could be over. While Artur focused on the car, Jayla called service centers and found one that could work on it the next day!
It was a huge sigh of relief, because towing the car back to Indiana would have cost at least $1,000. We called a tow truck company to take us to the mechanic.
As we rode shotgun with the tow truck driver, he kindly let us know that he only accepted cash. And lucky us, we only had cards to pay the $300 bill. A quick detour to an ATM and we’d finally arrived at the service center.
We unloaded the car onto the lot and were an Uber away from enjoying our trip. We arrived at the hotel and later enjoyed dinner at a nice steakhouse–apparently where Drake made an appearance a week prior.
Somehow this made us feel better and, even today, we consider the evening one of our better dates.
The Next Morning
…turned into another “fun” adventure; the service center called and told us they couldn’t work on the car until Monday. Here we go again.
We spent another hour on the phone calling around. It was already 10am and we needed to check out soon. A few calls later we found a mechanic who was less than a mile from the service center.
The catch was that we had to get there ASAP or they wouldn’t be able to look at it due to incoming customers.
There was no time to call another tow truck so we would have to drive the car, as is, to the new shop. We hastily packed and checked out of the hotel.
What should have been a quick stop turned into twenty minutes. It felt like time was against us.
Once we had the keys we took off. Honestly, it was more like a crawl because going the speed limit wasn’t physically possible. The car would shake violently at anything above 5mph, causing more damage.
The entire front of the car was resting on the spare tire and made awful screeching noises. Ten minutes later, we were barely to our destination when it should have taken two minutes, tops.
Rattling along, we made it to the shop only to find we were too late. The mechanic was busy working on other cars and said he wouldn’t be able to get to it that day.
At that point we really didn’t know what to do. We were stuck in the city with nowhere to stay and a car that was in terrible condition.
We offered the shop owner extra for “express” service. He was reluctant, but took our offer and had us bring the car into the garage.
More problems arose after he took a closer look as he said didn’t have the proper equipment. Eventually, he agreed to fix it after some back and forth about how desperate we were.
Once the job was done we gave another tip for his hard work. We probably said thank you over twenty times and immediately left a raving, online review.
We could finally start to head home, though at a speed of no more than 45mph. It was a temporary fix and we were driving on a spare tire.
This meant we couldn’t take any major highways and had to stick to country roads the entire way back. We prayed the car would not break down again, this time in the middle of northern Indiana.
After over four hours we made it back and there were no other issues along the way. The whole adventure lasted just roughly thirty hours, but the takeaways were life-changing.
True Colors Revealed
We saw each other’s sincere personality under stress and tough situations. When the car broke down it wasn’t a “his or her” problem.
It was up to both of us to find a way to fix it.
The mood at the time was not defined by outside things happening, good or bad. We were just happy to be on a date with each other in downtown Chicago.
It could have been enough for us to walk away given the perceptions of the “perfect” date and relationships in general. Instead, the mishap made a cameo in our wedding vows as Artur found it so fundamental to our personal story.
If you focus on the negative you’ll miss out on the positive.
The reality of life is that you never know how things will play into the long term or even reveal characteristics about yourself.
Maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.-Unknown
We hope this is encouraging in meeting your partner or even affirming a current relationship. Don’t write-off a “bad” date or situation even if it looks a little different from the normal.