Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Catching a Whiff of Gas


Every Shabbat when it’s nice weather, we take a walk to the park and to the creek. It’s a busy trip out the door with four kids under the age of seven, and we’re always managing trying to keep everyone walking and not into the street. On our walks this spring I would always have a momentary whiff of gas, and I soon realized I always smelled it at the same spot. We walk to the creek without cell phones, and then spend hours there. On the way home, we sometimes take a different route or we’re dealing with exhausted and soaking wet kids. I would always forget about the gas smell, and always assumed that if it actually smelled like gas, one of the families in the houses around the intersection I smelled the gas would have called it in. Maybe they had already and it’s nothing. I’ve never thought about that momentary whiff outside of Shabbat until today, when this happened:

I decided, you know what? I’ll just call. It was a strange phone call. “There’s a spot around this intersection. No, I don’t live that close to it. I’m not sure I smell it. Yeah, I’ve actually smelled it for months now. No, I don’t know anyone in the houses around that intersection, so, no, I’m not sure if they smell it either.”

I hung up the phone feeling pretty embarrassed with an agent that obviously thought I was wasting their time on the same day there was this massive explosion. But honestly, if I didn’t call today, I never would have remembered any other day. But maybe I should’ve waited a day or two, I thought with some guilt. Why did it take me months to call, and couldn’t I have waited until another day?

A few hours later I got in the car to go pick my kids up from camp and saw the gas company analyzing the street. I stopped and told them I was the one who called in the smell and asked plainly, “So, am I crazy? Is there actually a gas smell?” They laughed and assured me that there was, in fact, not just one leak, but potentially two. An hour later, they were ripping up the street and we sat until dinnertime watching them work.

My son sat for an hour drawing the scene:

And they even let us come close for a look at the gas line itself, six feet into the ground, that was leaking:

All in all, I’m glad I called, obviously. I wish I had trusted myself months ago and remembered to call. But if there’s a bright side to the tragedy in Baltimore, maybe it’s things like this.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 9 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Good for you. And your kids will never forget it, I’m betting.

    • #1
    • August 10, 2020, at 7:54 PM PDT
  2. Jules PA Member


    Glad you are all ok. 

    • #2
    • August 10, 2020, at 8:06 PM PDT
  3. Blondie Thatcher

    Nicely done, Bethany. I may be wrong, but it is possible your call was made more of a priority given the events of the day. How nice for your kids to be able to watch the guys work. There are some ne’er-do-well twenty somethings that would have benefited from watching some physical labor when they were that age.

    • #3
    • August 11, 2020, at 4:43 AM PDT
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Bethany, you were a hero to your family before, but now you’re a hero to your neighborhood. Imagine if you hadn’t called, and the leak somehow got ignited. Wow.

    If I were among your neighbors, I’d organize a block party for you in your honor!

    • #4
    • August 11, 2020, at 4:57 AM PDT
  5. Old Buckeye Member

    I called when I smelled gas near our meter and sure enough, it was leaking. The repair guy told me they trust women when they say they smell gas because they’re almost always right. 

    • #5
    • August 11, 2020, at 6:34 AM PDT
  6. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    BTW, Bethany, this is what might happen when no reports are made about the smell of leaking gas. I hope the community acknowledges you, because you did everyone a huge favor:
    September 9, 2010
    Time 18:11 UTC-7
    Location San Bruno, California
    United States

    An immensely powerful explosion rocked the bedroom community of San Bruno Calif, tearing the neighborhood apart and killing eight people.

    It was ironic that one of the 8 people killed had been a PG & E critic who had attempted numerous times to get PG & E to spend money the state of Calif gave them on replacing defective underground gas lines.

    • #6
    • August 11, 2020, at 5:04 PM PDT
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Allie Hahn Coolidge

    I’m always paranoid if I smell something weird like this. It occasionally happens where I work and I report it when it does – it’s thankfully always been nothing. Glad you called!

    • #7
    • August 12, 2020, at 5:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    Glad you called! Way to go!

    • #8
    • August 13, 2020, at 1:38 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Stad Thatcher

    Okay, I have a confession. When I saw the title of the post and “Shabbat” in the first sentence, I thought, “What do they serve at this meal?”

    My apologies, @bethanymandel . . .

    • #9
    • August 13, 2020, at 1:59 PM PDT
    • Like