Chapter 12. The Doctor, Captain Dan, Pascal and CIE.

It happens to us, few years ago in Cap À l’Aigle Marina, that a complete stranger lent us his car…


-I have a sailboat at the marina too. I saw you too arriving and docking, before the sunrise! I bet you need to get some grocery. Get my car, it’s in the parking.
-Wow…that is so…generous!!!??
-Just don’t use the hand break. It hasn’t been used in years… I have no idea if it works.
-Thank you, sir! We won’t be long. Oh! what’s your name, so we can find you to bring the key back?
-Everybody call me : the Doctor.


He then gave that precious piece of advise.


-Kids, buy everything you need to be happy.


In his car, there was a pink post-it on the hand break. It was written NO in bold. We were not the first lucky strangers he lent his car to.


This summer trip, in Contrecoeur, the port master of the very small and friendly marina said to Sam:

-Diesel? Here! Nahhhhh….you won’t find that close from here, he said with a voice a bit like Popeye.
-No diesel around here? At all?
-Ok… Our next stop is Longueuil or Montreal. We have enough fuel to reach it. Not enough if something bad happens though.
-I can lend you my truck. As long as you bring it back by the end of the afternoon, you can go get the diesel you need.
– …Oh, it’s very generous of you sir, but I don’t want to abuse of your truck and take it for a long distance.
-Ah you would need it for a long time?…Well. I can lend you a trolley to get your diesel if you want. That, you can bring back tomorrow if you prefer.
-A trolley devil? … eee… Not sure I understand. I thought you said there was no diesel in Contrecoeur, and that we needed to go in another city?
-The diesel is 5 corners from here. That is quite a ride by foot with a heavy jerrican. But if you don’t feel at ease with my truck, I can lend you my trolly. Your pick!


Sam and I look at each other, confused, surprised, but somehow happy as well.


-The truck is perfect…sir?
-Call me Captain Dan. Oh by the way, the driver seatbelt doesn’t clip anymore. Just pull it so it looks like your fastened.
-By the way, we have showers in the basement of my house if you want to use them for you or your kids.


What is best between being in a potential danger in a old and untrusty pickup  or safe in a stranger’s shower. Sam make his pick:

-…no thank you, just the truck will be more than perfect, Captain Dan!


Few days later, in Valleyfield, Pascal, our very friendly neighbour at the marina showed us all the nice spots for anchoring in the Lake St-François.


-I used to sail with my kids when I was young. I know how complicated it can be to go provisioning with a family. I don’t have car seats, but I’ll be happy to lend you my car.
-Oh wow! We are very grateful and touched by your offer. Indeed, we need to go to Canadian Tire and to the grocery. We’ll say yes, if your offer is serious.
-Sure it is, Sam! Pay it forward someday.


A week later, we are back again in Valleyfield. This time, we’re anchored in the bay rather than at the marina. Sam decides that it’s time to fill in the propane tank. He leaves in zodiac with the tank strapped on his back.This is roughly a 10 kilometers walk back and forth. He arrives at Lou-Tec:


-I’d like to fill in this tank please.
-What type of tank is it?
-A fiberglass one. It’s for my boat.
-And where are you coming from like that? ask that man to Sam.
-From the bay, next to the marina.
-The marina, you walked????
-As you can see, yes.
-My my my… he turns toward a collegue. Louis!!! Check it out, the guy arrives from the marina!!!
-What do you say Bob? He arrives from the marina?
-Yes….by foot.
-Holly molly, boy! And where are you going back after? ask Louis, who is not the sharpest tool of the shed.
-Well…to the marina! replies Sam who starts to be annoyed by the conversation.
-WHAT! The marina???!!! By foot!?? Are you crazy!


Bob and Louis didn’t offered a car or a ride back, which is fine, but also surprising considering their stupefaction in front of the distance to do with such a heavy load. With that conversation in mind – and the tank full- I think Sam would have welcome any offer; even the trolley of Captain Dan.


On the photo, a cold one well deserved at the end of the day.

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