Good deeds make great news

TIRE TROUBLES — Automobile tires without air are useless, but changing them can sometimes be a problem for older Americans. However, good help may be closer than people think.

Acts of kindness seem rare these days, so when anyone experiences them they are worth commending. Everyone I told about my tire experience last week said it was something to write about, so here goes.

I ruined a tire a few years back when I ran into a drainage culvert covering. I lost another one last week when I turned a corner too sharply and something ripped the side of the tire.

Anyone who drives through the McNeese-Ryan Street intersection on a regular basis knows there is a major effort there to construct turning lanes on both streets. The curb I ran over is on University Drive. I was trying to avoid dropping off into a deep ditch dug for that construction job.

I made it to my destination, but on the way back that pesky tire light lit up on the dashboard. The last time it happened, the problem turned out to be a low spare tire, so I wasn’t in any hurry to get home.

The grocery store was on my left and I wanted to pick up a half gallon of milk. I pulled in, parked and noticed the right rear tire was low and getting lower. Since I had never changed a tire on the car, I sat in the right front passenger seat and started thumbing through the automobile manual.

A woman who got out of her vehicle came by to tell me about the tire that was flat by that time.

“Thanks,” I said, and eventually found the information I needed. I opened the trunk and got out the jack, trying to figure out how it worked. I also removed the spare tire, and got ready to go to work in some khaki trousers that I had just picked up from the cleaners.

Another woman heading into the store walked by and said, “Don’t do another thing. I called my son and he is coming here to change your tire. He is only 15 minutes away.”

Wow! Talk about an extremely kind act. I breathed a great sigh of relief.

The lady hadn’t walked very far when I noticed a young man hurrying in my direction.

“I’ll change that tire for you,” he said. “That way I won’t have to go into the store with my wife.”

I managed to reach the lady who had called her son and told her to please call him and tell him how much I appreciate what he was going to do.

Watching that fellow change that tire with its lock lug nut was quite an experience. He definitely knew his business, telling me his late father had taught him how to change tires.

Bob Bennett was the young man’s name. He said he was a McNeese State University graduate and had been working for over 20 years at a local casino, a job he said he thoroughly enjoyed.

I told him I knew what that was like since I have over 60 years of full- and part-time employment at the American Press, and enjoyed every minute of it.

After thanking Bob a number of times, I ran into him again in the store restroom where we were both washing our dirty hands. I felt another thank-you wouldn’t hurt.

I also ran into the lady who had called her son as she was checking out. I thanked her again, and wish I had had the presence of mind to ask her name. Hopefully, I’ll run into her again sometime.

When I told my exercise partner about the experience, she asked why I hadn’t called AAA. To tell you the truth, I forgot we had the coverage.

Jo Ann, my wife, asked me Tuesday what I was writing about, and I told her it was about my tire experience.

“Oh, that’s great,” she said. “People love those good news stories. I love those good news stories.”

Every now and then the newspaper gets a letter from someone from out of town who writes about a similar experience that he or she had in Lake Charles. We do have a lot of good and kind folks here, and their good deeds say a lot about the place where we live.

If any of you get a chance to do a good deed, don’t pass it up. I know in the past I have missed some of those golden opportunities, but I try not to miss any of them again.

Bob Bennett did more than change my tire. He gave me a quick and easy lesson on how to change the next flat tire on my car. And thanks to him and that kind lady who called her son, I have thoroughly enjoyed telling others about one of the kindest and most satisfying experiences I have ever had.

I am also being extremely careful every time I have to make a sharp turn around any corners. Two ruined tires are two times too many.

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