A mum of seven has described how the day her car caught fire was the “best day” of her life, as it reminded her what was most important to her.
Rachel Martin, from Minnesota, US, was driving her children to the park when the brakes and steering wheel on her people carrier suddenly failed, due to an undiagnosed mechanical fault, and she lost control.
She managed to pull over to the side of the road and told her children to quickly get out of the car, which was fortunate as within minutes the whole vehicle had erupted into flames, destroying everything left inside.
The family, who have recently moved across the country after Martin’s marriage ended, lost valuables in the fire, including a Nintendo DS, iPad and Kindle, as well as schoolwork and paperwork, but Martin was not fazed.
“As I watched my van that was the first thing I owned on my own since my divorce, that had gone with me from Minnesota to Tennessee, that had all our stuff in it — go up into flames — I didn’t care,” said Martin.
She explained, in a post on her parenting blog ‘Finding Joy’: “We work for stuff. We don’t want to lose stuff. But when the stuff gets taken and our family preserved — we quickly realise how much the stuff doesn’t matter.”
Martin saved the registration plate from the fire, after her son Elijah said it reminded him to be thankful for that day:
“You see, I don’t see stuff destroyed. I see lives saved,” she explained. It could have been the worst day of my life, but friends, even with losing my van and stuff.
“I saved what mattered most - my family. So instead of the worst it was the best day of my life. And so this picture? It reminds me of just how fragile life is and how grateful I am for this day today.”
Since the fire, a friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a new car for the family, explaining: “Unfortunately, as a single mum of seven, this van was Rachel’s primary method of transportation.
“And because of the age and mileage, the insurance payout will be so little that she won’t be able to replace it with a safe vehicle that fits all of her family.”
They are hoping to raise $20,000 to help Martin cover medical bills, the cost of all the items that were inside the van and a new van.