Poor Derek

I had my annual flat tire on Friday. Luckily, I was near a gas station, so I pulled over and assessed the damage. Flat doesn’t quite do it justice, because the tire was really just wrinkled up around the rim that was touching the ground. It was a lovely Spring Indiana day – freezing cold and gusts of 30 mph – so I got back into my car pretty quickly and called to say I’d be late for an early meeting.

Then I called Free411 for the number to Big O Tires.

“Hello, Big O Tires. This is Derek.”

I explained the situation and asked about a mobile service. Derek said they didn’t really do that, but, if I could wait, he could come down after the morning rush and put on my spare tire.

“Well, Derek, here’s the thing. I don’t really have one of those.” (Lost it in last year’s blow-out and haven’t gotten it replaced because anything in my trunk isn’t really a part of my life anymore.) I went on, “I guess I’ll have to call Allstate Motor Club for a tow to you. It’s a shame, too, because I’m only about ¼ mile away. But I really appreciate your offer.”

“Have you tried airing it up?”

“What do you mean?”

“Putting air in it. You said you were at a gas station.” It was at this point that I knew Derek would talk about me for the rest of the day.

So, I aired it up, slowly drove the ¼ mile to the tire store, made the walk of shame to the counter and then waited on the diagnosis. “Your tire’s had it. The rest are in fair condition, but I noticed that none are the same. Do you plan to put a set on soon?”

“They come in sets?”

He laughed a little. I explained that I have annual tire catastrophes and haven’t really had the chance to buy a complete set. Plus, now that the car is 11 years old and could die at any time, new tires would just look silly, sort of like a really old woman with brown hair.

“For you, I recommend a used tire in comparable condition that comes with a 30-day guarantee.”

Thanks to Derek and his quick thinking, the whole thing cost me $35. And 75 cents for the air.