Just when you thought everyone was a jerk…
Coming back from running errands today, I was heading east on Westheimer and about a mile and a half from home. The car started feeling “funny”, and I felt a rumble. I turned off the radio, and it got progressively worse, till I realized that I definitely had a flat.
I managed to pull off into the parking lot of the Hilton (about a mile from the house, and two miles from the place I bought new tires at about a month ago). Yep, right rear tire was shot. I started moving junk from the trunk to the back seat, and managed to finally get the donut tire and jack out.
Loosened the lug nuts before I jacked up the car (learned this lesson a few years ago) and started cranking. The jack that came with the car is a real piece of junk, and had a very non-optimal bar used to crank it with. I’d crank for a couple minutes, then sit in the car and let the AC run. At 90F and 75% humidity, changing a spare is no fun.
With the car jacked up about 75% of the way needed to get the full-size tire off, a random big athletic guy came up out of nowhere and asked if I wanted help. I said “If you can help, please, I’m about to have heatstroke here.” He cranked the car the rest of the way up, swapped the donut for the flat, and let the jack down. He then took off, refusing anything more than a “Thank you” for his assistance and advice to get rid of the jack that came with the car.
I sat in the car with the AC on full blast for a few minutes, then drove the rest of the way home. When I walked in, Amy looked at me and DEMANDED that I get in a hot shower before I passed out from overheating. While I cooled down, she took the car down to NTB to have the flat fixed (we’d bought a road hazard warranty). This was around 3pm. Amy came home about 45 minutes later via cab, as she didn’t want to sit around and wait at the tire place.
I finally took a cab back to NTB around 5:30, and they had the car ready fifteen minutes later. The old tire was too damaged to be repaired – apparently I’d run over a set of nail clippers someone dropped in the road, and then the 1/4 mile of driving on the flat cinched the deal. A completely new tire only cost us $34 (the cost of “renewing” the road hazard warranty).
From these events, I’ve learned a few things:
– Good people still exist. I’m very grateful for the help I got from Random Dude who was walking past the Hilton.
– I should ALWAYS take my cell phone with me. Amy was just about frantic by the time I got back to the house.
– I need to toss the crappy jack that came with the car, and buy a better one that is easier to crank/jack up.