Can a Broken Wheel be Life Changing?

Our car broke this weekend.  The wheel was bent in a crazy direction and it reminded me of  seeing this same thing on 8th Street to many cars that just happened to be driving by and hit an unfortunate bump in the road. Many of those cars were stranded for hours, with kids just sitting in the car, trying to figure out this mess.  This is not a fun situation for anyone, but for people who don’t have any excess, this can be life changing.

I was reminded when we first moved into our house there was a single mom with 3 kids that lived behind us and this same thing happened to her car.  She was a strong woman who was upbeat and seemed very put together.  When the wheel feel off, she got the car towed to her parking spot in the slab behind her house probably thinking she would need to save up some money then take it to a mechanic.  A few days later the tires were stolen off her car and just like that, it was too expensive for her to fix.  It was so sad to watch. You could see in her demeanor that the situation deflated her.  She was struggling to get to work, get her kids to daycare and just make it.  I think about her often. She ended up moving. I am not sure why but I remember that car and how it seemed like a symbol for how her life was going. We didn’t know her well enough to know how she was financially, but when people in poverty or on the verge of poverty run into a situation like this, it can quickly escalate and lead to really devastating outcomes.  If she was out of work for a day, that could either lead to loosing her job or missing the money her family counted on for rent.  When I think about that single mom and her car, I wonder if she was evicted because of it all.  I can’t imagine how stressful that was to go through alone.

I am thankful that Alex knows how to fix cars because this can be stressful and a huge cost.  I am thankful that this kind of situation doesn’t lead us down a downward spiral. The fact is that the single mom who this happened to, went through a rough time because of the same situation.  The woman was a hard worker, but she kept getting dealt a bad hand.  It makes me think that the distribution of wealth in our country.  The fact that someone is working hard and can’t handle something like this, isn’t right. So many in Milwaukee can’t afford these kinds of things happening, but they are going to keep happening unless a shift takes place.  I am not sure what that shift is, but I think we all agree that it isn’t right that I have it easier life than a single mom of 3 working her butt off. Because of where she grew up and the color of her skin, her life is harder and because of where I grew up and the color of my skin, my life is easier.

Alex and I talked about the situation on our podcast: 53206 (on Apple and Spotify, just search 53206) and we would love to hear what you think.