Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flat Tire Good News

Our right front tire blew out today on I-5 between Mt. Vernon and Marysville. We were  listening to Steve Miller while driving home from a meeting with Mark Shea, after having visited my mom in the hospital.
after the tire blowoutLuckily it held together long enough for us to notice "Hey, there's a really strange noise and vibration going on" and pull over. Also luckily, we were in the right lane very near an exit with nice shoulders, and the weather was pretty decent. We didn't have trouble putting the spare on although it was annoying to have a "wacky wheel" instead of a full-sized spare; I'd thought the last time we bought tires we told them to save the best as a spare but OTOH that might've required buying a spare wheel, so perhaps I'm thinking 2 cars back.

We crawled off the exit but didn't want to go far; that tiny replacement tire may be safe but it looked like heck! We called AAA, which was ready to tow us anywhere within 5 miles, and only $3.50 a mile after that; since it was Sunday night, most tire stores were closed and we were more than 60 miles from home (and maybe 20 miles from our nearest relative), things looked a little sideways. But I perked up thinking of all the times that an unreasonably positive attitude had worked out for me and with a nearly audible shift of mental gears, smiled (to fool my brain into thinking I was happy) and started working out options, feeling certain that it would all work out just like the guy said in A Complaint-Free World.
After all, the weather was nice and no-one was shooting at us, so we were better off than a lot of people right there!
I called several family members but it's Sunday afternoon and everyone's out.

A young guy in a pickup truck stopped and offered us his spare, if it'd fit. That was generous! Unfortunatley, when he checked, his spare was missing. It was a kind offer though! and I hope he reaps the benefit of having made the offer by getting an actual spare.

An older man stopped and offered us gas. "I have a can in the trunk." Again, a generous offer but not what we needed.

Lots of people taking the exit looked at us, saw we were on our cellphones, and gave us the nod, "Looks like you're o.k." which we were, pretty much, but we were hoping for a way out of towing.

Then a guy taking his son home from a baseball game offered to let us park at his house and work things out, "We're only a mile away." This seemed like a kind offer, so we followed him, going slow and with the flashers on; I didn't trust that wacky wheel at all. We pull up to a very nicely kept house and he brought out the yellow pages. The tire stores were closed but one had a 24-hour commercial service; I took a chance and called, and the operator was happy to set us up with a service guy. For a short time it looked like we were home free (well, not quite free) but when the service guy called back, he was mystified; they didn't have stuff for a Saturn SL1 at all; I think they were mostly for commercial vehicle. But he wished us luck.

And luck we had. Our good Samaritan drove us to the Mt. Vernon Costco where we got a tire put on. Ironically, his wife was shopping there at that moment! We had a nice coversation while waiting and on the way back about his profession and interests. I am reluctant to say anything more since I don't want to  violate his privacy, but if I'm ever in the market for surgical instruments I know who to call!

The wheel went on swiftly and we were on our way. We have no way to repay this guy for his generosity, except to swear that we will "pay it forward!" I also hope that he, his wife and kids realize what his help meant to us!

It was very encouraging to see so many people willing to help. I cannot say I am HAPPY to have had the blowout, but I *am* happy to have had the best thoughts about human beings confirmed!

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