4 good Samaritans prove drug violence isn't all there is to Mexico
By Kitty Williams
There's been so much negative press lately about the violence in Mexico that I wanted to share the experience that my 13-year-old daughter and I had over Thanksgiving weekend.
We have a tradition of going to Rocky Point and camping on the beach with friends. This year, I was a little nervous because of everything I'd heard, but decided that as long as we traveled during daylight hours, and on a day when a lot of Americans would also be making the trip, it would be OK.
So we headed out, only to have a blowout midway between Sells and Why. That delayed us a couple of hours, but AAA finally arrived and got us back on our way.
So we continued on, crossed the border and headed into Mexico. I know I should have stopped at Sonoyta and picked up a spare, but the car seemed to be driving all right. I figured I'd get it all taken care of once we got to Rocky Point.
The only problem was - we didn't make it.
About halfway there, the former spare went bad. I pulled over; clearly we were in serious trouble now. This was a forlorn and desolate stretch of highway, and I no longer had a spare.
There wasn't time to think about it for long, though, because within about two minutes, a car pulled up behind us. Inside were four kind of rough looking 20-something Mexican men.
For a moment, I wondered if "bad" was about to get a whole lot worse. But no, they got out of the car and started checking to see if their spare might fit.
When that wasn't an option, they asked if I could drive my vehicle the way it was. I was skeptical. The tire was still holding air, but the tread was peeling off like an orange. But what other option was there?
They said they would follow us - and they did. So we limped the last 30 miles into Rocky Point on the shoulder of the road with our good Samaritans following behind with their hazard lights on.
Once we arrived, they got us to a tire shop and made sure everything was under control. Although they never asked for anything, I gladly tipped them for their assistance. They took off, only to stop back by a little later to see if we needed anything else.
It's worth mentioning that in all the time we waited on the side of the road for AAA on the U.S. side, the only person who stopped was a friend who happened to be on his way back, saw us, and turned around to see if he could help.
So much for all the dangerous violence in Mexico. I'm not saying it doesn't exist - in some places, it does. But Mexico is a big country, and Rocky Point is not Ciudad Juarez.
Unfortunately, though, the damage has been done in the minds of most Americans.
The campground (usually filled to capacity over the holiday) was at about a third. The hotel next door had - maybe - 10 cars in the parking lot.
If you are a former Rocky Point aficionado who has been scared away of late, you should know that your friends there are suffering - that waiter who was always so friendly, the girls who braid hair on the beach, and those guys who hawk the shrimp.
When the tourists they depend on don't come, their already-difficult lives become desperate.
And yet, four young men didn't think twice when they saw a stranded woman and her daughter. They stopped to see how they could help.
It would be nice if we could return the favor.
Kitty Williams is vice president of CRIZMAC Art and Cultural Marketplace. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org