The Day I Joined AAA | Emily Brunner Photography


I didn’t wake up today with any plans of writing this post - a super long one having nothing to do with photography - the only photo being this cell phone snap.  I woke up today with a plan to get my 3 kids off to their camps and then to start working on my 2nd quarter PA sales tax filing (The less glamorous side of business).  At 8:15 this morning we made sure we had all of the necessary equipment for the day: goggles, water bottles, pointe shoes and a train pass and then we loaded everything and everyone into my 8 year old Buick.  I put the key in (wanna guess where this is going?) and despite it making a weak effort of turning over the engine, it wouldn't start.   This same thing happened two weeks ago, so I knew I would be the new owner of a car battery very soon.  But I also knew I needed to figure out some way to get my 13 year old to the train in time for her dance intensive in the city and how to get my younger kids to their swim camp 25 minutes away.  I figured I could fix the battery after everyone got to where they needed to be.

With all of my emergency contacts already busy in their day and only 40 minutes to find and execute a solution, I turned to Uber for help.  I live in the suburbs, and in a slightly out-of-the-way part at that.  I was thrilled when Uber found me a driver just 15 minutes away.  I can only imagine what my amazing driver, Shayton, thought when he pulled into my driveway and saw me, a ballerina and two swimmers waiting outside with our big bags of gear.  I introduced us and asked if he was willing to drive us all over for the next hour.  He said "Sure" with a smile.  Then he asked "Having a bad day?"  to which I answered "In the grand scheme of things no, but definitely an unexpected day!  But now we get to meet you, so that's good, right?"  Shayton drove us everywhere we needed to be and even drove me back home.  But more importantly, he helped us out with an attitude of joy and understanding and reminded me of what's important in life as we talked about parenting and life goals on the drive back home.  Calling on help this morning resulted in me making an unexpected and very much appreciated connection with someone who I probably wouldn't have ever met otherwise.

Back at home at 9:30, I had a decision to make: should I make an appointment to get my battery replaced at the shop (requiring some jump starts in the meanwhile and a missed Friday or Monday of work) or should I find a service that could come to me (fixing my problem sooner, freeing up time and making it so I could go everywhere I wanted to stress free).  I selfishly had some fun plans coming up that I wanted to enjoy without the stress of an unreliable car, so I chose option 2.  I've received AAA flyers in the mail my whole life.  I never understood why anyone would need it, until I suddenly needed it.  So I called and joined.  While it was remarkable to me that 30 minutes later I had a repairman at my home, it's what happened next that really amazed me. 

The A & R Towing repairman, Dylan, confirmed that yes, my battery needed replacing.  But, he didn't have the battery I needed.  He got my dying battery running and called the nearest auto parts/service station to see if they could replace the battery for me.  They said they had the battery I needed, but wouldn't replace it for me, because weirdly enough, the battery in my car is actually located under the passenger side seat.  So Dylan offered to follow me to the service station 15 minutes away so I could buy a battery and then he could replace it for me there.  I was blown away by this offer of help.  Many people when working get hung up on "no".  They don't look for other options on how to solve the problem.  I am sure I have been one of them at times.  And some people simply aren't willing to go out of their way to help.  I gratefully accepted his offer and 60 minutes later my car was up and running.

Rather than being annoyed or angry at how my morning turned out, I was thankful for the unexpected connections and services I received.  It got me thinking about my own business.  The purpose of my business might seem like it's creating beautiful photos or capturing memories.  Not really.  The first reason I work is to forge personal connections - both between me and my clients and also within each of my client's families (so they can connect with each other). The second reason I work is to help - to help from start to finish, in any way that I can and to help find a solution to whatever photographic needs my clients have.  My work has no meaning or purpose without people to connect with and serve.  It's actually a wonderful feeling to remember that, especially during times when life feels so incredibly busy and difficult.  I truly love that life is rarely boring and that there is inspiration to be found everywhere - even in a dead car battery.