It’s a typical Wednesday morning. I get in my car to go to the weekly 8 am meeting for my research program. I’m driving down the street, pull up to a stoplight…… and my car starts shaking like it’s about to fall apart. In my confusion, I look at the dashboard and see that my engine light is flashing. Not on, actually flashing. I don’t know much about cars, but I suspect that flashing is probably really bad. The light turns green and I push the gas, and my car ever reluctantly moves after several seconds of stalling.
Since I didn’t have a car last time I lived in Blacksburg, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to take my car to the dealership and have them run a diagnostic, which is money I’m happy to spend because driving under these conditions doesn’t work well. I get to the dealership, hand over the keys, and am in for about an hour and a half wait. Someone comes to talk to me about why my engine is misfiring and let me know how much it will cost to fix it. I approve the repair and settle in for another hour. Someone comes back; my car is ready.
On my way up to the desk to pay, she asks me if I’m a vet student. I say yes and tell her I go to Tuskegee University and that I’m in the area for a research internship. She tells me that the mechanic who worked on my car noticed my TUSVM sticker in the back and wanted to pass along a message. Some years ago, his dog was injured in a tornado incident. A group of veterinarians came to the area as part of a relief effort, and one doctor operated on his dog to fix a broken leg. Like many people, his dog is family, and he was extremely grateful that his dog’s injury was fixed. However, he never met the veterinarian who operated on his dog and never had a chance to thank him or her. He’s so grateful that whenever he comes across members of the veterinary community, he wants to thank them for what they do and let them know how much it meant to him and how it touched his life.
Occurrences like this are what keep me pushing forward. Keep this in mind for the challenging days… This is just one of the reasons why we do it.