So this is another oldie yet goody. This incident occurred a little over 15 years ago and I am already realizing while writing this just how many details I have forgotten. If only I had written it down earlier! I guess it is not technically "my" story, but my family's story from back in the day.
I went to college 600+ miles away from home. My sister decided to join my parents on the 11 hour drive to come visit me for Parent's Weekend at school. They had a mini-van at the time so there was plenty of room to stay comfy. We had a great time that weekend and it was relatively uneventful...until they left.
They left early Monday morning to begin their journey back home. I began my normal routine of going to classes, studying, etc. After a few classes I had to go to the music lab to study pieces of music for a test. By the way, I hated that class because the instructor would play so many seconds of a piece of music and we had to name that tune. Let me tell you how much I have used anything I learned in that class...ZERO! Okay, so that isn't part of the story. Sorry. Anyway, I am sitting in a booth my myself with headphones on listening to music when someone taps on my shoulder. I take off my earphones and am told that I need to go back to my dorm room right away. I am told something about needing to stay at my phone for my parent's phone call, police call, and my sister. What?
I return to my dorm room and call a number that had been left for me from the police in a town about two hours away. I am told that my sister is at a rest stop. My parents don't know she is at a rest stop. When they discover that she is missing from the mini-van I will probably be the first person they call so don't leave my phone. At this point I must say that this was in the pre-cell phone days. I am then given a number of the pay phone where my sister is at on the side of the road at a rest stop.
Now that I know that no one is hurt, I'm chuckling. Seriously? How did this happen!!! I call the pay phone and my sister answers. She tells me her allergies were bothering her and she took a benedryll. She fell asleep in the third row of the car all snuggled up under blankets. She woke up when they pulled into a rest stop on the side of the interstate. My parents hopped out to use the restrooms but left the sleeping girl alone. Mind you, she was 21 so it wasn't illegal to leave her there. They locked up the car just to run to the bathroom real quick. Well, my sister woke up and decided she needed to use the restroom as well. She goes into the restroom and into the stall right next door to my mom. She is groggy from the benedryll and doesn't say anything. Sister washes up and walks out of the restroom and doesn't see the car. In fact she doesn't see any car. She's the only one at the rest stop. Apparently mom did not realize it was her daughter in the stall next to her. Mom and Dad hopped back in the mini-van with my "sister" snuggled up in all those blankets and get trekking along.
So since my sister had absolutely nothing on her but the clothes on her back she's at a loss. She goes to the pay phone and dials her boyfriend's mother. Now I don't recall the exact conversation but it went something like this:
Boyfriend's Mother: Hello?
Sister: Hi BM. How are you?
BM: I'm good sweetie. What are you doing? You back from NC?
Sister: No, not yet. I'm waiting for my parent's to come back.
BM: Come Back? Where are they?
Sister: Oh they left me at a rest stop. They didn't know I wasn't in the car. I'm sure they'll be back soon.
BM: WHAT?!? DON'T MOVE! STAY BY THE PHONE. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE? WHAT'S THE NUMBER OF THE PHONE YOU ARE CALLING ME FROM? I'M CALLING THE POLICE.
So, my sister waits by the phone and BM calls the police. BM stays on the phone with my sister while the police locate her. Mind you, sister was asleep when they pulled into the rest stop so she wasn't exactly sure where she was. The police finally locate her and take down my parent's info regarding the vehicle to look out for, etc, etc. Wow!
I call to check on my sister at her pay phone. She's hungry, thirsty, needing a cigarette (because she smoked back then). Okay, how can I help? What can I do? So when she tells me of the little town that the rest stop is located in I immediately remember that my ex-roommate's ex-boyfriend is from that town and he is actually home from school right now. I call my ex-roommate and get his home phone number. (I'm thinking I am a great stalker!) Luckily he is home and I tell him the situation. He is nice enough to go buy my sister some chips, a drink, and a pack of cigarettes and drive to the rest stop to deliver them to a girl he has never met. Meanwhile, my sister continues to sit at the rest stop with a policeman for hours.
You see, my mom is driving. She's making great time...she's in a different state now. After almost four hours she decides it's time to go to another rest stop. She calls for my sister, who she believes has been sleeping the entire trip, to wake up. Mom tells Dad to see if sister needs anything and to wake her up. Dad climbs through the seat and realizes there are just blankets back there. I can only imagine her thoughts at that moment as her heart sank. They immediately pull over. And just like the police thought, they called me first. I will never forget my mom's hysteria. I told them what happened and that she was safe with the police back at the rest stop. I give them her pay phone number.
My parents then have to drive four hours back to the rest stop. Everyone is reunited and they all go get a hotel room for the night. A full day of driving and yet they only made it two hours from their original starting location. My mom says to me on the phone that night, "But Mary and Joseph left Jesus in the Temple too!"
To this day, when we stop at rest stops, etc while driving we announce ourselves to each other to make sure everyone knows you are in the bathroom too.