The sky was pouring buckets, as she was driving down Interstate 77, flowing with the traffic at about 65 mpg when she heard a DING. She looked down at her instrument panel. The Low tire pressure light was blinking. She could see that her driver’s side tire was down about 3 pounds. She barely got the thought out, about needing to stop and have it checked, when the indicator showed the tire had dropped from 33 lbs down to 25.
As she had been taught years before, she took her hands off the wheel for a brief second. The car didn’t pull to the right.. Hmm, must be a problem with the sensor. Just then the tire indicator, popped up the pencil likeness of her car, showing the tire dropping 25, 15, 12, 8… Suddenly she could hear it. THOP! THOP! THOP! THOP! Then ZERO… the tire was flat.
She eased into the breakdown lane.
As she had left the interstate, with one eye on the almost bumper to bumper speeding traffic, she noticed everything was totally drenched from the down pour. OH CRIPES! WHAT NOW?
Karen had only been in her new town and state about three weeks. Her mind went to the friendly gas station owner she had stumbled onto, when she accidentally took a wrong turn attempting to find a Shell station her daughter had recommended. She knew she had put the name in her phone. Ayup, there it was, All Star Quality fuel, Front street. Quickly she googled it on her I-phone. The address and phone number popped up, she called.
Hello? Hi, you probably don’t remember me, but I stopped in and talked with the owner a little over a week ago she said. I just moved here from Maine. I am on I-77 going North, about 1500 feet from Exit 49b to Statesville and my tire just went flat. Can you help me?
The young man on the other end, told her to hold a moment while he went to get the boss. She could barely hear their talking back and forth. Finally, an older gentleman’s voice said, hello? Her reply, was YES? He stated, we don’t do road service, but we have two numbers that you can call that won’t screw you out 400 dollars. Got a pen?
Breathing a momentary sigh of relief, she reached for a receipt from the store she had just left off the previous exit, grabbed a pen and said, I’m ready.
He gave her two numbers. One he said was a tire place that might possible do road service, and the other a wrecker service in case the first number didn’t work. Politely, thanking him for taking the time to help her she hung up.
DEEP BREATH, she encouraged herself as the cars continued to whoosh by on her left. She dialed the first number. A young man answered the phone and she explained her predicament. The place sold used tires and unfortunately didn’t do road service either, but he had a number she could call that should.
Got Something to write this down, he asked? She chuckled. Yup, she replied, I’m ready. She started jotting the number down and the line went dead. DANG, Karen exhaled, as she redialed the number. THREE times the phone was busy. Worst case scenario, if they didn’t pick up on the next call, she could always try the wrecker. Thankfully, the “boss” answered. She started to explain who she was, he laughed and quickly gave her the number, she retorted, I owe you one!
Two cleansing breaths later, she dialed the number. The friendly voice on the phone listened intently as she explained her situation. One problem, he said which direction. She said well I think I am going North, but I can see the Honda dealership on my left. He chuckled and said, young lady YOU are going South. I am sending someone out now. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, she sighed, though her heart continued to pound. She called her daughter at work, to fill her in. Her daughter helpfully offered to call for help. Nope, Karen said, I believe, I am ok. They had a quick chat and ended their conversation. Now, is NOT the time to need to pee said her brain. Her bladder thought differently.
Now, she had a moment to feel a bit of unsure. It didn’t last long, an orange truck with blinking yellow lights pulled up behind her.
It was an extremely pleasant young man. Full facial hair with a friendly smile. He quickly jacked up the driver’s side. Chatting with him through the drizzle, she explained this model doesn’t come with a spare! It only has a compressor in the back. He asked if she wanted him to try to fix it. He handed her a small piece of flat blue metal less than 1/2”. There’s your culprit. He took her tire back to his truck and was back within 30 seconds. That tiny piece of metal had sliced the whole bottom to side of the tire. Let me call my boss, he hollered as he headed back to his truck.
Before, she knew it, this giant white truck pulled up. It was as the young guy had said during their conversation, George, or as they called him, Grandpa. He popped his head in her window and said, let’s get you into my truck and we shall call around and see if we can find a tire.
The cutest, little, Jack Russell, was napping behind the front bucket seat. George/grandpa asked, “Who gave you, our number?” She answered,” all I have are the numbers.” Oddly, Karen felt totally safe and almost relaxed. He made three phone calls, gave her a guesstimate of what a new comparable tire would cost, asked would that be ok? He chuckled, they don’t carry your kind of tires around here.
OK he said, let’s go. I said so the tire sounds workable, do they have a ladies room? He gave her a friendly smile and replied, “Sure do.” Obviously, this was not an abnormal thing. As they drove to the tire place, I told him what a pleasant, polite young man his guy was. He said, he has a little one month old baby. They chatted amiably.
The typical chain tire place was, more business friendly than personable. Most important, they put the tire on the rim within a few moments and with one quick trip to the restroom, they were on their way back. Grandpa, to assure her car’s safety, had left his business partner with her car. I asked, “How much am I going to owe you? He gave her, to her surprise, a price way under $100. He wanted to know who had recommended them. She googled them and gave him the name of the place. George/grandpa, stated, “I always try to give business back to people who recommend me.”
Not one hour and 40 mons since the tire sensor had given the first warning DONG, Karen was ready to be on her way. She shook both their hands. George, headed for another call, while his step son, waited behind her, to blink his lights, to alert her when it was safe to pull into the busy Friday afternoon highspeed traffic. Fog and a downpour made visibility poor. Finally, he blinked and off they went. Driving down the road, she smiled as she clenched “Grandpa’s” business card in her hand.
NOW THAT, she thoughts, was good ol’ fashioned hospitality as she reached for the car phone to called her daughter.
Do things happen for a reason?
What If Karen had NOT accidentally pulled into the
wrong” gas station on Front street, a few weeks prior? Perhaps, this story would have a different ending.
The next time you take a wrong turn and end up at the wrong place, don’t get exasperated or mad, embrace it.
The good people we stumble upon on this journey called life, may amaze you.
Try and leave yourself open to all the universe has to offer.
Kind Regards and practicing – K
ps- Just a rough draft but wanted to get it out there.