Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Doot, doot, doot lookin' out my front door

I am blessed.

For several weeks my front right tire has been slowing losing air. I'll stop by the gas station and fill'er up with air and go about my business. I know neglecting such a thing isn't wise, but single mom on a very tight budget here. Still it's not an excuse for not taking care of my vehicle.

In the past week or so I have had to fill the tire more frequently. I was certain it could wait until payday. Every dime I have is tied up with nagging utility bills, insurance, fuel, etc... My supposition about said tire was wrong. On Monday afternoon I went to my car, and as usual took a look at the tire. I hadn't driven it on Sunday. Sure enough, it required air. The filling station with the free air is only a couple of blocks away. With air gauge in hand, I removed the cap, turned on the air compressor and started filling ... and filling ... and filling. It was no use. I had overextended my luck. I don't know if the frigid temperature had anything to do with it, but I was flustered and upset.

Turning toward home I felt defeated. I know it's a small thing, but in my world of being dependent on myself, it's a hard thing to accept. I parked the car in the garage and headed inside the house. Before removing my coat, scarf, hat or shoes, I dialed work. I told my general manager of my dilemma. All the while fighting back tears. I could feel the sting in my eyes and throat. I knew it was necessary to get to work because they had called off the technician who was to work the mid-day shift.

While talking to the GM, I inquired what time my co-worker Jennifer -- who lives not too far from me -- was scheduled. She replied 2:00 p.m. "I'll give her a call. Hopefully she can drag my sorry self in."

I dialed Jen's cell phone and she answered. Well, to be honest I thought it was her 8 year old daughter. Jen is a squeaky girl with a mighty big, kind heart. She listened compassionately and consoled me when I shared with her my tire problem. She assured me she'd help me.

Jen took down the information on the side of my tire and told me we'd walk to Sears on our lunch break to price tires. She knew I didn't have the money for a new tire, but insisted she'd help if I had no other resource. I hoped the tire only needed to be repaired. Sears only replaces tires; however, calling around, I discovered a place less than a mile from work could and offered free inspection of the tires.

In the meantime, I had texted my sister Maureen for a favor. I asked if my tire needed to be replaced that she might loan me the funds to get it done. She replied quickly telling me it would be no problem. With that I informed Jen that the price portion was taken care. I made certain to thank her for her generosity. The problem at hand would be getting the flat tire off and putting the (unused) spare tire on. Although I have witnessed tires being changed and also helped change tires with my ex-husband, a mechanic, I wasn't keen on doing it myself. Not only do I fear those compact jacks, but my hands get cold quickly and turn deathly white (Raynaud's Disease.) Temps below freezing cause my hands great pain and discomfort.

Jen discussed my issue with her husband, Jason. Without batting an eye, she told me not to worry. "Jay will put the spare on tomorrow after work."
Since Jen and I were working the same shift, she also brought me home Monday evening. There was snow covering the car tracks from when she picked me up. I mention this because upon her departure last night, her vehicle left unique marks in my driveway. I noticed them before she picked me up this morning.

Jen picked me up since we worked the same shift. It was actually nice having someone chipper and positive to talk to so early in the morning. I'm not accustomed to adult conversation at 7:30 a.m. During our ride to work, Maureen called and we discussed the issues with my tires. she felt more comfortable taking it in to the automotive shop she has used for over 30 years. Since it's her dollar, I trust her judgement. She made arrangements for me to bring the car in Wednesday morning. Knowing the Saturn was due for an oil change, she offered that service as well.

I am blessed.

Today was our company's way of giving back to individual communities. We're known for worldwide charity, but it's nice to see it in play in our hometown. The recipients were children from a local elementary school. The kids were polite, appreciative and well behaved. I snapped photos of them, but those are only for the school's use. The teachers, administrators and parents should be very proud. I know our staff was impressed and they, too, should be praised for handling the kids with tenderness.
I was able to put aside my worries. Everything was falling into place and I could breathe easier. The workday went along with ease and I shared a lot of laughter with the children and my co-workers.
Jen called her husband around 4:00 to let him know we were heading toward home and asked that he meet us at my house. There was still the task of getting the spare tire on the car so I could drive it to the shop tomorrow morning.
En route to Casa Riss, her hubby called to say he was in front of my house. Mancub was home and I called him with instructions to open the garage for Jason. By the time Jen picked up her daughters and we arrived at my home, Jason was struggling to get the tire off the axle. "It's rusted on." My car is a 2004 Saturn. I acquired it a year and a half ago. In that time I had never had the wheels pulled off.
With great determination he managed to get the blasted thing loose. Upon inspection of the tire, I spied a small nail head peeking from a center tread. ARGH! I'll leave it up to the professionals to determine if the tire is salvageable and to inspect the other 3 tires.
I couldn't thank Jen and Jason enough. They have been more helpful than I could have imagined. She's not just a co-worker, but she's friend and shoulder when I've needed one. No matter what troubles or woes she might be suffering in her personal life, Jen always has the time to listen and be a pillar of strength for others. Customers are greeted with her perky demeanor even when it's been a day that would test a saint's patience.

Once again, Maureen manages to come to my rescue. Seriously, between saving money going to her home to do laundry, picking through the bounty of canned goods her husband obsessively stocked up on, and the amazing gift of "Wicked" ... well, I'm blessed!
By the way, I took a picture of that snowy tire imprint Jen's car left in my driveway.

Never doubt the existence of love and kindness. Sometimes, you don't have to look further than your own front door.


  1. I was really feeling your pain, and felt my throat tighten along with yours as I was reading. It can be sooo hard to ask for help...... I am glad you have people in your life that understand that, and that will lend a hand when needed.

    What a beautiful, tangible sign of the goodness of your friend in her tire prints! Unreal! =)

  2. Robyn, thank you. I was giddy to see that imprint staring me in the face. I'm fortunate, for sure.

  3. Kindness has a way of finding people who do kind deeds themselves. It is uplifting that you have such blessings in your life. That photo is fantastic.

  4. I'm so glad you have people in your life to be as kind to you as you deserve. Many of us are struggling, but it's nice to know you have people you can truly depend on in your life.
    And I love the picture, imagine that!

  5. True friends who can be depended on are indeed a Blessing!

    I've found in life the little things you do for others pay big dividends.

  6. Wow, what an amazing photo. And an amazing blessing.


  7. I love that picture.. it gave me goosie bumps :)

  8. This is a beautiful post, Marissa. Thank you for joining our Simply Kind Tuesdays. You share the kind gift by telling us the story.


  9. Riss, you convey your feelings so articulately I am moved to tears. I've been there with my car before, all freaked & helpless & girlie, having to rely on the kindness of friends & strangers. Not a good place to be.

    The picture is outstanding!

    Oh you got to have friends
    The feeling's oh so strong
    You got to have friends
    To make that day last long

  10. That is awesome...a loving sign from God that he always has/always will have your back.

  11. What a great story. You are very lucky to have such kind, generous people in your life. We should all be so blessed!


  12. Great story, nice picture. Much better karma here than in the more recent post. Being good does pay off in the long run. Believe in that.

  13. It's in a way so funny. A simple nail in the tire. Two words. Plug kit. Never be without one of those and an inflator. 90% of flats are easy fixes if you learn how to plug a tire (very easy if you have a little big of strength to "ream the hole" (I did not make that up). I get them all the time.

    Anyway, I'd be glad to help if you need help with your holes in the future.

  14. Yeah. me fix a tire without the ability to get the darned thing off or back on the wheel?
    "Anonymous" Can I find that in the white or yellow pages?


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