It’s not easy being the helping type

I can’t believe it has been over three years since I was in Guatemala—it seems like yesterday. And I will never forget the day I climbed my first volcano. To be clear, it’s still the only volcano I’ve climbed, but I hope not my last.

Yep, it's a flat

Yep, it’s a flat

However, the adventure began before we arrived at our destination. We joined a group of people for the volcano experience. I had heard it was best to go with a guide—safer. So that’s what we did. Our group filled two small vans. The drive was over an hour and wouldn’t you know it, one of the vans got a flat tire. I’m going to be honest, when I still had a car I was the type to call for help when I got a flat. And I don’t mean my dad, who would also call someone else for help.

So when the guides got out of the car to take care of the situation I also got out of the

I love that the men are watching and the gals have their backs turned.

I love that the men are watching and the gals have their backs turned.

van. Not to help. But to watch. There was one gentleman in the group who wanted to help. Unfortunately for him, the guides said he couldn’t help due to liability issues. This didn’t satisfy the man. He was the helping type, especially during a crisis. We were on a highway and while I didn’t feel I was in danger, I wasn’t the one changing the tire. Not too many cars drove by, but there was still some traffic.

Two onlookers going in the opposite direction.

Two onlookers going in the opposite direction.

The curve in the road. To be clear, this isn't the gentleman making his road block. It's one of the guides searching for a rock to help with the process.

The curve in the road. To be clear, this isn’t the gentleman making his road block. It’s one of the guides searching for a rock to help with the tire-changing process.

The gentleman was quite concerned about safety. He started to collect litter. An empty cup, a Coke can, and other small objects. I watched, curious about his behavior. Then he walked past the curve and I lost sight of him. When he turned the corner I noticed he was placing the litter in the road like you would set up orange plastic cones to alert drivers about an accident or obstacle in the road. His barrier created a safety bubble for the guides.

He was helping; I had to give him that. And he didn’t have much to work with. When the first car flew by all of his rubbish flew away. Undeterred, he gathered more and placed it in the road once again. The next car demolished all of his hard work. Some of the other hikers noticed him and his efforts. No one said anything, but I could sense they wanted to laugh. After his third attempt the dude gave up. None of the drivers paid any attention to his road blocks made of empty soda cans and cups. He looked defeated. Fortunately the spare tire was on and we were ready to roll.

During all the excitement, the view was lovely.

During all the excitement, the view was lovely.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
This entry was posted in Travel Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to It’s not easy being the helping type

  1. petit4chocolatier says:

    Wow, he tried so hard. What a nice guy. It always scares me when there is an road emergency and people do not realize it until they are on top of the road emergency.

    The view is absolutely gorgeous in the meantime 🙂

    • TBM says:

      He really was a nice guy and trying so hard to be helpful. I wondered if he was ex-military. And yes, I enjoyed the view. Guatemala is lovely. They call it the land of eternal spring since the temps are always springlike. Perfect for me. I don’t like super hot. Of course by the time we got to the top of the volcano it was HOT

  2. fgassette says:

    How funny. I bet that is why the ladies had their backs turned so you wouldn’t see them laughing. I know if I were there I would also be taking pictures with a chuckle bubbling up inside of me. Hope the climb went well.


  3. Beth Ann says:

    Well I guess he wanted to DO something!!! And since those mean guides wouldn’t let him change the tire he had to find something to do!!! Funny that is what he chose!!! Lovely pictures and it looks like a great place to visit!

  4. aFrankAngle says:

    Interestingly, a friend of mine (a native Guatemalan), is there now visiting her family. …. and she talks about the beauty of her land!

  5. The Hook says:

    I wish i had more time to visit; you always take me to the coolest and most “human” places and moments!

  6. Oh bless – I’d have been the one bossing everyone else around but not doing anything actually physical you understand!

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I hope it helped him to try!

    • TBM says:

      I couldn’t tell. he was the quiet type. A brooder. And to be honest, I was busy huffing and puffing during the hike I didn’t talk much to people.

  8. It is not easy to be the helping type and be told that you can’t help. I feel for the guy, but at the same time I feel for the tour group who probably wished that he would just stay still and be safe. Sometimes helping is doing what others ask you to do, even if that means doing nothing.

    • TBM says:

      I agree Carl. His actions made me a little nervous. I understand his need to be helpful, but like you said, you have to be helpful in a safe and productive way.

  9. Guilezilla says:

    I agree with Carl. Anyway, I can see that Guatemala is absolutely beautiful. And what is the name of the volcano?

  10. pattisj says:

    I’m glad he tried to alert other drivers to the situation.

  11. Fergiemoto says:

    Amusing! But I would be nervous changing a tire on the side of the road like that.

  12. It is pretty dangerous to be stopped on the side of the road like that. For some reason, drivers tend to go right for the stalled car like a moth to light. It would have been good if the driver had had flares. The photo of the group is funny. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I was surprised they didn’t have any type of cones or flares. They drive these vans all over and on back roads. Things happen. And since they are transporting clients you’d think they would be more prepared. Can’t fault the actual guides though. They were fantastic. And they are the ones who have to deal with managers who don’t protect them completely.

  13. The Guat says:

    You know … any time you talk about the motherland I’m always here to hear about it. 🙂 And it was a cool little story. I’m hoping it’s not your last trip, but always be careful on the highways. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      Your country is so beautiful and the weather is perfect. I like warm, not hot days. yes, always be careful on the highways. I’m a California girl–they don’t mess around on the highways. Follow the rule of the road or the citizens will “take” care of you 🙂 Have you ever seen the movie LA Story with Steve Martin. It’s an oldie, but you might appreciate the humor since you now live in my home state. I hope you’ve kicked the flu completely!

  14. Novroz says:

    what a story! it’s really something to remember.
    I think I would behavw just likebyou, I want to laugh but would contain it because it would make him sad. I think he’s a lovely man.

  15. Pingback: A lesson learned | 50 Year Project

Thanks for commenting, I would love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s