I have hundreds of great stories; 24 are featured in the book to introduce and amplify the teaching points. Here are a few:
My most memorable assist of a motorist with a pinched low-profile tire was a fellow in an Audi on Interstate 10. Since his unrepaired spare had also recently been pinched and flattened on a speed bump, we took his rim with flat tire to a Discount Tire store. While there, he told me he owned a store that sold comic books and toy “action figures”. He also insisted on paying me for my help. I told him I would take a box of action figures as payment – for my grandson who loved playing with them. I didn’t expect to receive anything, but two weeks later a box of action figures arrived in the mail. My grandson was delighted.
In November, 2009, I was returning to Texas from a funeral in Virginia, traveling south on Interstate 85 just into South Carolina around 9:30 PM, when I spotted a disabled Honda Accord on the northbound shoulder. I exited right away, turned around, and travelled north until I saw the car, pulled over ahead of it and backed up. The driver, whose wife was in the car, told me he had a flat tire and his jack was missing; also, he said that he planned to continue driving that night. The tire change was routine, and when I finished we talked a few minutes. I advised him to not continue driving that night beyond the next motel since he would not be able to replace his flat tire until morning, he had no jack, and his spare tire was old and likely to blow out. The driver was a US Marine no longer on active duty (“Once a Marine, always a Marine”). As an Army veteran I’ll admit that Marines probably have the most service pride of all. He told me he had been very worried as I backed up in the darkness – until he saw my Purple Heart license plate; he said he knew then that he would be okay. I handed him my card with phone numbers and we went our separate ways. An hour or so later I received a call from my wife; she told me that the Marine had called my home phone to report he had taken my advice and checked into a motel. A few days later I received a really nice thank you note in the mail from the Marine; he also wrote, “I never thought I’d say this, but GO ARMY”.
“Joseph”, a very large man from Cameroon, was stopped in his Toyota Highlander on the shoulder of Interstate 10; its right front tire was flat. Its occupants were roasting on the hot summer day. Joseph, the driver and father of the family, told me that he couldn’t get to his spare tire because the vehicle’s rear hatchback, which covered access to lower the spare, wouldn’t open. So I jacked up his vehicle, removed the flat tire, wrapped it in an old sheet, and put it in my car. Joseph and I took it to a Walmart for repair (all it needed was a valve stem). We returned to his vehicle, where I remounted the repaired tire. His 8-year old twin daughters, coached and rehearsed while Joseph and I were gone, performed a really cute, lively “Thank You” dance for me. Very nice. Before I departed, I suggested Joseph visit the nearby Toyota dealer to fix the latch on his rear door; he declined, saying he was in a hurry. His wife remarked acidly, “We might as well not have a spare tire”. I decided to leave before their fight!
The Mazda 626 belonging to the elderly man on Interstate 10 near Brookshire, Texas, had had a blowout. He had moved it to a wide shoulder, jacked it up, and removed the lug nuts, but he was in tears of frustration. He had been there for hours because the rim with flat tire was stuck to his car. I checked his spare tire which was very low on air. As my compressor pumped air into his spare, I tried unsuccessfully with my hands to remove the flat tire’s rim from his car. Then I remembered that I had a hammer in my trunk. With the hammer I struck the inside metal part of his rim a couple of times, and the rim dislodged and fell away from the car. The old man was delirious with relief, giving me a 10-second bear hug as traffic zoomed by at 80 mph. We soon mounted his inflated spare on the car, and he requested my business card. A couple of hours later he called my house and thanked me again; then his wife did the same. Just after this assist I obtained a steel-headed mallet, which I have used the same way at least twenty-five times.