This is part two of the flat tire story.
Because you see, once my amazing colleague put the spare tire on my car, I still had to get it fixed.
So, very carefully, and quite slowly, with my hazards on, I headed for the Dobbs near my house.
It closes at seven.
I decided earlier that I wouldn't even ask if it was past 6:55.
I pulled in at 6:50.
Even then I felt like a total loser for asking for a fix so close to the end of the day.
When I pulled open the door a young man looked up.
"Oh, hey, Ms. Hirsch, you teach at Ritenour. I used to go there. Do you remember me?"
I recognized his face, but I couldn't pull up a name.
"I remember you, but I never had you in class, right?" I responded.
"Right, right. So what can I do for you?"
"I know you are about to close...but I have a flat tire-"
He interrupted, "Oh, yeah, we got you. Let me right up a ticket."
"Really?" I asked, "Thank you so much."
He filled out the paperwork and we went out to my car.
First, he inspected the flat in my trunk and told me there were no obvious nails or anything.
Then, he handed my keys to the mechanic and led me back inside to wait.
Instinctively, I got out my credit card to pay.
He told me we had to wait and see what was wrong with the tire.
Unfortunately, it turned out to have a big old hole on the inside wall.
That means, as I understand it, that it couldn't just be patched, but needed to be replaced.
And the tires my car needs are not kept on hand (part of the price of driving a nice car, I guess.)
"No problem," I said, "I only live like right up the street. I can leave the car here and walk home."
Both young men looked at me and asked me where I lived.
I told them.
And it actually isn't more than a couple of miles.
I didn't even have a bag to carry.
The two looked at each other.
Then the technician looked at the other young man and said
"Well? Get the keys to the van and drive her home!" as if there was no other possibility.
"Are you sure? I don't mind walking" I said.
"We're sure" the technician said firmly.
"Ok, well, wow. Thanks."
After I ran back inside to get my house key off my key ring (forgetting that would have been tragic), we climbed in the van.
We chatted on the way to my house.
Apparently, we live quite close to one another.
I heard about his life after Ritenour.
His graduation from another high school, his current job (and how much he hates it), and his military plans.
He will be inducted into the Army in just a few short weeks.
It was nice.
As we neared my house, I thanked him again.
He said, "For real, if it wasn't you, I mean, if I hadn't recognized you, I would have told you it was too late."
I smiled, "I know."
That kid recognized me.
And it got my flat tire handled ten minutes before closing.
Good things sometimes come from odd places.