Flat fixes and forwarding favors

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I was tired and dirty from hauling hay all day, and I really didn't want something more to do. But driving home in the dimming evening light, I saw a car pulled off to the side of the road. It was in a section where there were lots of farms, but very few homes, and a limited amount of traffic, so, as tired as I was, I stopped to see if someone needed help.

As I pulled up behind the car, I could see the passenger side rear tire was completely flat. In fact, the burnt rubber on the road indicated that it was probably a blow out. The tire rim was sunk deep into the soft sand along the pavement.

In the car I saw a older lady dressed in a very nice dress. She appeared stressed, and my appearance didn't reassure her. Besides being covered with dust and hay leaves, I was unshaven, and I'm sure my aroma was less than pleasing. I could just imagine her thoughts as she nervously rolled her window down a small amount as I spoke.

"Lady, do you need some help?"

She shook her head. "No, I'm sure I can get my husband to come."

I assured her I could change her tire, but she ignored me and dialed on her cell phone. I waited to make sure she was okay, and it was a good thing I did, for she never did get an answer. Finally, she reluctantly allowed me to help. She popped the trunk of her car so I could get the spare, even though she was leery of getting out of the car.

The soft sand made changing the tire difficult. I was able to dig a hole and get her jack under the car, but it only lifted it a small amount. I then retrieved my own jack and was able to get it a little higher. I switched back and forth between the two jacks to raise the car high enough I could put a 2X4 from my pickup on top of the sand.

Once I had a jack on the 2X4 so it wouldn't sink, I was able to lift the car high enough to change the tire. Through the process, the lady eventually gained confidence that I was safe, and came out to watch me. As I worked, she told me she was in a hurry to get to a meeting and appreciated my help.

Finally, drenched in sweat, with the sun's rays fading on the horizon, I finished. Though I was tired, I felt good about the job I had done. She expressed her gratitude, and asked how much she owed me. I just smiled. "I'm glad to help. Just pass the favor on."

About a year later, I was in a government office trying to get a permit for some work I needed to do on my house. I had tried three times, and every time I thought I had met their rules, I found another hoop that they said I need to jump through. I was feeling extremely frustrated as the young lady behind the counter spoke.

"I don't know who you talked to the last time, but this is not complete. We need more verification that you will do the work appropriately, or my supervisor will never sign off on it."

Just then, the young woman's supervisor stepped out of her office. She looked at me, then took the form from the young woman. "I'm sure he will do what he says." She marked the application 'approved' and signed it, handing it back before returning to her office.

The young woman was shocked. "Wow! She's never done that before. Do you know her?"

I told her that as far as I knew, I had never seen her in my life.

"Well, I have never seen her express her trust in anyone like that!" she said.

She handed me the approved permit, and as I turned to leave, the supervisor stepped from her office and smiled at me as she spoke. "And thanks again for changing my tire."

And that was when I recognized her, and realized the kindness had not only been passed on, but the trust had been returned.