We had a hard time one morning this summer, but the story has a happy ending. As Ian was driving 600 chickens to be processed, a wheel popped off his trailer. All the chickens were OK, but they were set up for a fairly brief morning’s drive, not a day sitting in the sun. Ian was 20 miles away from his destination, and he assessed the situation.
After consulting with a friend on the phone, he decided to limp the last 20 miles with the trailer’s remaining 3 wheels, but the missing wheel shifted the weight of the trailer onto one of the fenders, and that fender now pressed against a tire. Ian hacked at the fender, but without the right equipment, he made little progress and walked up to the closest house to borrow some tools.
Not surprisingly, the people in that house were well aware of the situation. They’d seen him working and had even seen a big cloud of black smoke puff off the trailer when the wheel fell off. As someone who lives in the country too, I can appreciate how carefully they had been watching this stranded vehicle.
They didn’t loan Ian any tools though. Instead, they loaned him their trailer. They also helped him transfer most of the birds from our trailer onto theirs, which is not a quick or easy task. It is a job that one likes to follow immediately with a shower and a change of clothes, but these folks were not deterred and did it with the cheerful energy of people who know they’re doing something good.
Still not all the chickens fit on the borrowed trailer, so Ian headed into the processor’s, planning to unload and return with extra crates. Even with all this help, the processor was still paying a crew of people to stand around waiting for us, so time was very tight. Another farmer who was dropping off chickens stepped in to help as soon as he understood the situation. This other chicken farmer drove his own trailer on a 40 mile round trip and loaded the rest of our birds into his own crates.
All the chickens made it to their destination, and Ian finally returned the borrowed trailer. The man who had helped him had left to go cut some hay, but the woman of the house gave Ian a can of pop (which he appreciated because he hadn’t taken time to eat or drink). With the weight of the chickens gone, the trailer worked, and Ian made it home just fine.
I’ve been telling people how this couple lent their valuable trailer to a stranger who walked up to their door, and most other people who are farming said they think they would’ve done the same thing. I believe them. When a crisis happens in this job, people seem to pitch in. I’m so grateful.