Sometimes, it takes a flat tire to remind us that small acts of kindness are profoundly important.
Yesterday, after the challenges of a difficult Tuesday, I was looking forward to a less-wild Wednesday.
Still, the new day brought its own set of daily difficulties. It wasn’t out of the ordinary, but a traffic backup delayed my arrival at work. When I finally pulled into the parking garage, my tire pressure warning light dinged at me. I didn’t think much of it, figuring one of the tires was running a little low, and the bitter cold morning had lowered the air pressure in the tires. I assumed that a quick stop for some free air at my local Stewart’s Shop would do the trick.
However, I failed to notice the gigantic screw that was buried deep into my tire. It would later prove my assumption false.
Since I was already late, and parked in an obscure corner of the garage, I simply locked the car and headed for the office.
Eight hours later, after trying to remember where I parked the car, I found it, covered in slush and salt.
With a very flat tire.
And of course, I was wearing a suit.
Every time I changed a flat tire, I was wearing a suit. Once I was in my Navy service dress blues uniform. Another time, I stopped after to help a young lady tackle her car’s flat tire. (By the way, it helps to loosen the knot in your tie before you loosen the lug nuts.)
I could have called for roadside assistance, but why wait? So, I put on the teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, LEGO-sized wheel that pretends to be a spare.
I grant you, I will not be called up by a NASCAR team anytime soon to join their pit crew. But the job was completed, and I miraculously avoided destroying any clothing in the process.
A minor victory in a challenging week, I suppose.
Perhaps most notably, the whole affair served as a lesson in the importance of kindness.
Three strangers stopped to check on me that evening as I battled my car.
I have never met any of the three, but they all asked if they could help or make a phone call on my behalf. All three expressed concern that I could be stuck in a dim and dirty parking garage. Each refused to go until they were sure that I was okay.
I do not know their names. I have not heard their stories. It is not likely that we will cross paths again. Still, I appreciate each of them. I am grateful for our short conversations and for their caring nature.
Those little acts of kindness… they do make a difference.
Have you made a difference today?