Over the holiday period, my wife and kids and I and traveled down to Columbus, OH from Minneapolis. We drove back two days before New Year’s. With less than four hours left in the trip, we hit a whiteout near Tomah, WI. I don’t know if you’ve ever driven in a whiteout but the name is as apt a name as any weather related name can be. We could barely see the taillights in front of us. There was an accident ahead of us, a truck swerved in our lane, and before you can say ‘move to Florida’ we were in the median ditch between eastbound and westbound I-94.
The kids were shocked and a more than a little scared (we all were) but the van was upright and we had heat. The state troopers picked us up and took as to a truck stop and told us it would be several hours before a tow could get us out as there was a slew of cars already in the ditch ahead of us. Five hours later the tow truck got the van out (it was fine) and we drove for another hour before stopping off at a hotel.
The next morning we had several options, one of which was to get in the car, get breakfast on the go, and get home. But my wife and I decided to take another approach. We had a nice big leisurely breakfast in the hotel, then noticed that there was an ‘Action City’ next store. Action City had mini-bowling, laser tag, rock-climbing, go-karts, bumper cars, and video games. Without hesitation, we ponied up the cash and bought a day pass for us all, and had a blast. Later in the week when the kids were talking to the grandparents, my daughter said, “I’m glad the car went in the ditch, we had a great day and I’ll have a great story to tell my kids some day.”
Whether you are a customer service department, or a 404 error page, or a family on a vacation, you can choose how to deal with a bad turn.