Sunday, August 14, 2011


It was a long drive yesterday; with the lunch stop and another slight embarrassing complication. We were on the road in a packed car for ten hours from Skåne to Östhammar. The road seemed to never end. Even after we got home, with a wine in hand at the end of the day I still felt like I was driving along a freeway.

So what was the embarrassing situation?

I hesitate to actually tell it, it’s something I never could imagine myself doing. Along the E4, the main four-lane highway that runs the length of Sweden, after just leaving Skåne at the southern tip we needed to stop for gas. We looked for the signs and took the first one just off the highway. I filled up while Lina and Elsie went to the bathroom located outside around the side of the building. I met Lina as she came out and watched her heading back to the car. I had to wait a bit for somebody else to come out of the bathroom before I could go in, cursing the gas station for only having one restroom. After finishing my business I came out and saw Elsie waiting in the car. Victor was fast asleep in the back seat, so I didn’t want to disturb him.

With Elsie in the passenger seat I felt that all were waiting for me, after all I took a while to get back to the car. Elsie made the comment, something to the effect that everything was ready to go and now we had a full tank of gas. I pulled out and was soon driving at 130 kilometers an hour north on the E4, looking at the farm country, as we zipped past. The backseat was quiet I figured both were asleep. The rear-view mirror was adjusted at a higher angle so I could see out over the top of the luggage and didn’t give me a view of the kids.

That’s when Elsie’s mobile phone rang to her surprise. The voice at the other end was asking if we had a little girl called Lina. Elsie started laughing thinking it was some kind of a joke from her relatives. I sat up to get a better view of the back seat in the mirror. Where Lina sat was empty, Victor was fast asleep in the other seat. I had a quick rush of panic and yelled out for Lina, halfway expecting her to pop up from behind the seat. I yelled out again louder and called back to Victor, who was just waking up with all the commotion. That’s when I realized we forgot my daughter at the gas station. Elsie told the concerned employee at the station that it was in fact our lost child.

We had managed to drive ten minutes without noticing the kids in the backseat. I did my best not to panic and looked for the next exit to turn around at. The sign said two kilometers, in my mind it might as well have been 20, it seemed to take forever. On the drive back we looked for the Shell gas station where we filled up at; a task not that easy from a different direction. We pulled off at one exit only to find out it was the wrong Shell gas station. I had a feeling it was farther than we thought and got back on the highway heading south.

Finally in what seemed like an hour we found Lina calmly waiting in the store with a magazine in her hand. The employee there had done a quick Internet search and pulled up Elsie’s mobile number when Lina told her that we took off without her. We thanked her profusely and hugged my nervous daughter with a thousand apologies. Apparently as she was heading back to the car, decided to run in the gas station store to just kill time and look at a few things. None of us realized this and assumed the car was fully loaded ready to go.

As they say it only takes once, then it will never happen again.

Richard Boyer

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