Last week I got a flat tire. Actually, I got two flat tires – and I got them consecutively. The funny thing is, it didn’t bother me in the least!
In the past, car trouble would send me down a path of worrying what I had done to deserve such bad luck. Convinced I was being punished by Providence, I’d turn something as simple as a dead battery into the end of the world. It’s crazy, I know. But what can I say, except I was crazy!
Spending the last few years learning to embrace reality instead of frustration must have cured me. In fact, I had no idea how incredibly cured I was until the whole ordeal was over. But first, let me tell you what happened.
After spending an hour enjoying the autumn colors in Lithia Park, I returned to my parked car. My inner voice told me to walk around and check the tires before leaving for home. It’s a good thing I listened, because I had a flat tire!
Fixing Flat Tire Number One
“Okay,” I said to myself, unfazed. “I guess I get to practice changing a tire today!”
After removing the jack and spare from the trunk, I realized I didn’t have anything to block the other tires. While looking around for a big rock, I saw four fellas coming out of the Parks & Recreation department’s workyard. I explained my situation and Fella #1 immediately pulled two blocks of wood out of his truck bed.
“Do you need any help?” Fella #2 asked.
I could do it myself, but I accepted their assistance for two reasons. One, Fella #1 looked like he wanted his wood back. Two, it would be easier to watch them do it.
That’s when Fella #3 stepped in. Grabbing the jack, he started raising the car while Fella #2 loosened the lug nuts. Fella #1, having already donated the wood, joined Fella #4 in overseeing the work being done by Fellas 2 & 3.
As Fella #2 was tightening the lug nuts on the spare, he remarked it didn’t seem quite right. Standing behind him, I leaned in for a closer look. Without hesitation, I said the first thing that came to me.
“Oh! It’s because you put it on backwards!”
For a moment, Fella #2 thought I was right. This endeared me to Fella #1, who applauded my cleverness at getting Fella #2 to fall for it. Fella #4 thought it was pretty funny, too. The three of us had a good laugh. Fellas 2 & 3 didn’t confess whether they found it funny, but then again, they were focused on finishing.
When their efforts were finalized, I thanked them all for their gallantry. I felt blessed by the fact the only parking spot I could find was the one right next to their facility, and they had appeared the very second I needed help. Not only that, but I couldn’t imagine a nicer place to have a flat tire, or four finer fellas to fix it.
Giving them one last smile and wave, I drove slowly away toward Les Schwab Tire Center to get my flat tire repaired. Unfortunately, five minutes later, I heard an awful sound. It was coming from the spare, forcing me to immediately pull over.
Fixing Flat Tire Number Two
After confirming my spare tire was now another flat tire, I called my daughter. Since I was all out of spares, I wasn’t sure what to do. My insurance covered towing, but I didn’t really need a tow. I needed a tire!
We decided the best course of action would be to call Les Schwab and ask their advice. They answered immediately and said it was no problem. They would send someone to me straightaway.
Fifteen minutes later, Fella #5 arrived on the scene. He fiddled with the spare for a few minutes before discovering it wasn’t seated on the rim correctly. That required jacking the car up a second time, repositioning the tire on the wheel, and pumping it back up.
After setting my car back down, he asked me if I had put the spare on myself. I told him four other fellas had done it. Since he didn’t know those fellas, or how firm they had fastened it, he wasn’t taking any chances.
“I better torque it,” he told me. “I wouldn’t want the tire coming off on you.”
Finally satisfied my second flat tire was fixed, Fella #5 sent me on my way. The moment I arrived at Les Schwab, Fella #6 came out to greet me. Feeling fortunate they were still open, I watched as he grabbed my first flat tire from the trunk, guided me forward onto the hoist, and got straight to work.
When I saw him mounting the newly repaired tire on my car, I asked, “So, did you find anything?”
“Oh yeah!” he answered. “A big nail! It must have been four inches long!”
There was no doubt in my mind it came from the construction site I had worked at a few days earlier. Amazed my tire hadn’t gone flat on the interstate, or at another inopportune place or time, once again I felt grateful. I knew Providence wasn’t punishing me, but protecting me.
How else could I explain the inner voice urging me to check my tires? And the miraculous appearance of Fellas 1, 2, 3 & 4? And the spot to pull over when my spare went flat? And Fella 5 being immediately dispatched to my rescue? And Fella 6 repairing my tire? And all of this at no charge whatsoever?
My Fabulous Flat Tire Finale
It was then, as I was feeling truly blessed, that Fella #6 and I realized I was long overdue for my 5,000-mile tire rotation. “Do you want to do it now?” he asked.
“Why not?” I replied. “I’m already here!”
At that, Fella #6 enlisted the help of Fella #7 to hoist my car for the fourth time. Working efficiently to rotate the tires, they had all four done in a flash.
“Wow!” I exclaimed. “You fellas are fast!”
Finally, two hours and seven fellas after my flat tire affair began, I was good to go. As I drove the fifteen miles home on the interstate, I was happy as a clam. There was no music playing, but that didn’t stop me from singing my own version of Kool & The Gang’s 1980 hit song Celebration.
I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t explain it, either. I just kept belting out the lyrics, over and over again, all the way home!
Maybe I was celebrating how much I had grown in my ability to go with the flow of whatever happens. Or perhaps I was celebrating how far I’d come learning to trust that God is always taking care of me and all that concerns me. It may even have had something to do with my awareness of how many fine-looking fellas there are in the tire business.
Regardless, I knew then and there I had been completely cured of believing car trouble meant God was displeased with me. The thought didn’t cross my mind — not even once. Instead, I never felt more protected and provided for in my whole life!
So, in honor of the seven fine fellas it took to fix my flats, I’d like to give a great big shout out to all the gentlemen of the world! And don’t worry, I won’t take you fabulous fellas for granted.
To prove it, I want you to know I’ve been walking to the construction site ever since. After all, you never know where another 4-inch nail might be lurking. And frankly, I figure not all fellas fancy fixing frequent flats. However, whether that’s factual or not, is for all us females to fathom!
“There are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who ask what happened.” – Les Schwab (Founder, Les Schwab Tire Centers)