Keep in mind, there were no cell phones at the time. The shuttle driver said he needed to check in with work, but that if there were no passengers he would take us somewhere to find a tire that would fit.
What choice did we really have? We got in the shuttle with the Days Inn driver-guy and headed off to who knows where.
He was able to check in with work on a CB radio. With no passengers waiting for him, he took us to a service station he thought might have a used tire that could work. He said something about measurements and tread, but I didn’t understand it then, so I can’t recount it now. All I know is that he talked to the service station guy and learned that they did, indeed, have the correct tire size.
I bought it. He loaded it on the shuttle, and we headed back to my car on the side of the road. Throughout the car ride, my roommate and I expressed our gratitude over and over, asking if there was anything we could do in return. The only thing he asked of us was to call his supervisor and express our thanks so he wouldn’t get in trouble for being gone from work so long. He gave us a business card with the correct hotel number, and we happily obliged.
We got back to my car and he put the tire on, careful to remind me that it was a temporary fix and that I needed to get new tires as soon as I could. “If nothing else, get a spare that fits.” I agreed, we thanked him again and we parted ways.
As we were driving on our newly repaired tire, my roommate and I discussed how grateful we were that God provided a helping hand through this man. We admitted that the entire situation could have easily gone a different way. We wondered why we were helped when other girls in similar circumstances had been raped. We prayed prayers of gratitude.
About 15 minutes down the road, my tire blew. Again.
I pulled over to the shoulder of the Interstate. Again.
It was the worst case of deja vu ever. The tire I had just purchased and the kind man replaced had blown. But this time, things were different. This time we knew the spare didn’t fit. This time it was getting dark. This time I got angry and hit the steering wheel. Hard. Weren’t we *just* saying how grateful we were? Hadn’t we *just* expressed our appreciation to God? What the crap?!
There were no cell phones, but I had a CB radio. When I reached for it, my roommate stopped me. “Do you think that’s a good idea?” My only response was that it seemed like a better idea than spending the night in my car on the side of the Interstate or trying to walk the remaining 20 miles… in the dark.
“Breaker one-nine for a northbound…” Yep. I knew the lingo. Secretly I was hoping a policeman was listening and would come rescue us. Instead it was a trucker. I tried to tell him to just send a tow truck, but he insisted on turning his rig around and coming back for us. My roommate was less than thrilled about this plan, but she didn’t have any better ideas. He had already driven past, so he knew where we were. There weren’t exactly many places to hide.
The man we’d never met pulled up behind us, climbed down from his truck and said something obvious like, “You girls got a flat?” He looked old enough for us to be able to outrun him if necessary. That was good.
“Yes, sir, but the spare doesn’t fit.” We explained the events of the evening, hardly believing it ourselves. When he asked where we were headed and we told him, he said he could just give us a ride. My roommate’s eyes flashed fear and “Don’t you dare agree to this” simultaneously.