I love watching the CBS evening news. Especially the last story of the broadcast, because it features somebody doing something good in the world.
Like those guys who changed my tire last week when I had a blowout on Interstate 30, just outside of downtown Dallas.
Fortunately, not long after I ran over whatever it was that punctured the tire, I was able to take an exit and pulled into a convenience store parking lot. It was still pretty early in the morning, so there were lots of people filling up, grabbing breakfast to go.
Did my dad show me how to change a tire when I first learned to drive? Yes
Could I do it if I absolutely had to? Probably. Well, maybe.
But it’s like preparing my tax return. There are just some things I’d rather not have to do. Things that someone else with expertise – and in this case, brawn – are just better suited for than I am.
So I go into the convenience store and announce my dilemma.
“Can somebody help me change a tire?”
Most diverted their gaze very quickly and shot out the door. But this one guy didn’t even hesitate.
Standing there with a package of strawberry zingers and a carton of chocolate milk, he told me to let him put his breakfast in his car, and he’d be right there to change my tire.
When he came over to my car, he brought his younger co-worker with him, who actually did the work. They both had kind eyes and quick smiles. They refused to take any payment, even when I tried to insist. I shook their hands when they finished and thanked them. And they went on to meet up with the rest of their road crew with the state department of transportation.
With all the turmoil recently over Michael Brown’s death sparking conversations about racial discrimination everywhere, it was nice to know for a moment that none of that mattered.
For a moment we were just people – two guys who happened to be better at changing tires than I am. Who happened to be African-American. Who happened to be nice enough to take time to help.
And then there was me. A white woman with three degrees who can’t change a flat tire.