Who hasn’t looked at the beautiful display of beds lined up in a mattress store and wondered what it would be like to just sleep on one of those beds all night long? Well, I got to do it once and I learned a lesson I will never forget.
But let’s back up.
I was working at the time in the corporate office of a mattress and furniture store. They had hired me as a designer and that had turned into a lot of other computer work. Occasionally, I would even be asked to help deliver some furniture or help out on the showroom floor, but mostly I worked in the corporate office out of sight of customers looking for sectionals, end tables, and of course mattresses.
But one day there was a dilemma. The manager of one of the smaller stores about an hour north of us was really sick and couldn’t find anyone to come in and cover for him. After making several phone calls the owner asked if I would be willing to go up and run the store for the rest of that day.
Soon I was headed to Salt Lake City with a key to run a mattress store by myself. Luckily, it wasn’t a very busy day and I only had to call corporate to ask questions a couple of times.
At the end of the day, I locked up and headed home, which was two valley’s over. It was snowing a little, but nothing to worry about.
By the time I made it to the other side of the valley the snow was getting serious. I got onto Redwood Road which is a main highway leading south toward SR-73 which takes you over the mountain toward Cedar Valley. But I never made it to SR-73.
A few miles before my turn the traffic stopped and only inched forward occasionally. The snow and wind coming off the Oquirrh Mountains became wild that night. The black asphalt road was replaced by swirling cyclones of snow that spun in mesmerizing patterns beneath the idling cars. I felt like I was way above the earth looking down on fast moving weather patterns. We were a line of cars parked in the heavens as a show unlike anything I had ever seen was performed below us.
Just then the headlights of a car coming the opposite direction woke me from my trance. A moment later we moved forward the length of one car. It occurred to me that the only time we were moving was when someone turned around and went the other way.
It was getting late and the snow was getting bad. I had a quarter tank of gas and no way to call home to check on my wife and kids. I turned my car off to preserve gas, but soon found myself shivering in my car with only a light jacket.
I was scared. There was only one road that went west over the mountain toward home, but right now it was impossible to get there. The same road, if I could reach it and go east, would take me toward my parents house. Both options were cut off and the snow was starting to build up on the road around me.
I had to take action soon. But I didn’t know what to do. I had relatives in Salt Lake, but could I remember where they lived and find them in a snow storm? Was there a hotel I could stay at and did I have enough money on my debit card?
Not knowing where I was going, I finally turned on the car and backed up a few feet toward the car behind me and then did a 3 point turn – losing my spot in line – but happy to be moving again – in the opposite direction. As I headed north on the mostly empty side of the road past a long string of parked cars to my left it was like my brain shook off the frozen fear that it had been feeling and I started to think clearly again.
That was when I remembered that I had a key to a mattress store in my pocket. Not only did I have a warm place to go, but I had my choice of a dozen or so beds to choose from. I was thrilled and relieved at this realization.
Soon I was back at the mattress store and was able to call my wife and let her know I was okay. I locked myself inside and picked the most comfortable looking bed there was.
I wish I could say that I slept wonderfully, but unfortunately I woke up to loud noises outside the store and a siren light flashing through the glass storefront windows.
I realized that I was busted.
To anyone else, I looked like a burglar and I reasoned that someone had called the police on me. I panicked and even considered running out the back door or rolling onto the floor to hide. But then I realized that the flashing light was coming from a snow plow that was scraping it’s shovel as it drove back and forth in the large parking lot.
It would continue most of the night.
And my worries about getting arrested would continue most of the night as well. But at least I was safe and warm. There was a packet of hot chocolate and a microwave in the back of the store that I helped myself to.
The next morning the storm had passed and the snow melted away quickly, but I learned from the news that many cars had been snowed in on SR-73 and some people had to be pulled from their cars by rescuers on snowmobiles.
I’m glad that I took action and didn’t just sit there in fear on that road that night.
How many times in life does the road we are traveling appear blocked and we worry that we are metaphorically running out of gas and could possibly freeze to death—yet, we just sit there? When in reality, if we just stopped worrying for a minute and shook off those negative thoughts, we would realize that there are solutions. In my case, a whole mattress store that I had a key to.
Are you stuck and unable to move forward? What key do you hold that you haven’t been utilizing?
Now is the time to shake off the negativity and make a change.