I’m not writing to defend Clarkson’s behavior—heaven knows I’d never want him as a husband, and he’d be the brother-in-law I’d “forget” to invite over—but this middle-aged mother of nine (yes, really–nine kids) and grandmother of one owes her life, and the life of our beloved 15-passenger 2001 Ford Econoline van, to Jeremy.
Last May, in 2014, I was driving Big Blue to work at 7:30am along a four-lane highway in rural Utah at 50 mph. Next to me was a school bus, and trying to make a turn across the highway was a high school student in a Lexus SUV. Seeing the school bus—but not me (first time in my 11 years of driving Big Blue someone did NOT see me coming)—the SUV darted out just as the bus passed, and clipped me on the back right.
As my van careened 180 degrees so that I was skidding sideways then backwards down the road, the very first thought that came into my mind was, “What would Jeremy do?!”
Now, I’m a very religious Christian (LDS—yes, I’m a Mormon), but honestly, I wasn’t praying: I was channeling Jeremy Clarkson. Instantly his voice, in a high-pitched squeal, came into my head, “Hold it! Hold it! Hold it!”
So I did—I held it! Firming my grip on the steering wheel and slamming on my brakes, I maintained control of Big Blue. It smacked into the curb then, according to witnesses, the police report, and the evidence of the clumps of turf embedded in the tow bar, my van did a pirouette of sorts on the grass bank, turning once again another 180 degrees,
tearing a gouge in the turf, popping off my back tire,
and landing me at a gas station, just a few feet (that’s a couple of meters to the rest of the world) from eight gas pumps. Safely.
I had the presence of mind to shut off my van, then staggered out to see a couple of men running up to me, astonished.
“That was some ‘Top Gear’ driving, wasn’t it?” I exclaimed proudly.
Unfortunately, my would-be rescuers were rural rednecks who had never watched “Top Gear,” and for a few moments people thought that maybe I was drunk or on drugs that early in the morning.
But soon that was sorted out (the police and the father of the teenage girl who hit me are also “Top Gear” fans).
Everyone who saw the distance I traveled, the spinning I did, and the way I brought the van to a stop without damaging myself or the gas station (the owners were the most panicked) all agreed that the accident was miraculous.
I think it also nothing short of a miracle that Jeremy Clarkson was in my head.
That God would stick him there?
Shocking and amazing.
But 10 months later I’m still driving Big Blue (the shop fixed her up enough to keep her running). We just hit 200,000 miles, and I’m hoping for at least 50,000 more.
I’ll be the first to admit the Jeremy Clarkson is an idiot, obnoxious, and frequently inappropriate. But “Top Gear” is first and foremost entertainment, and it is very entertaining. And I must admit that it did save me and my van.
Please reinstate Jeremy Clarkson and “Top Gear.” My older kids learn driving tips (seriously), and we watch the specials to teach our kids about geography (seriously, again). For the sake of this forty-five-year-old mom and grandma, give us back Clarkson!
(And my apologies to the BBC for the email I sent previously, where I accidentally spelled Clarkson’s last name with a “t”. I honestly thought there was one in there. See, I love England so much, I believe there’s “t” [tea] in everything.)