The Flat Tire
My tire had a staple in it. Of all times for this to happen -- a flat
tire. But when is a good time for a flat tire? Not when you are
wearing a suit and you have been traveling for nearly five hours
and, adding to this bleak picture, nightfall is approaching.
Wait; did I mention that I was on a country road? Okay, now
you have the picture. There was only one thing to do: call AAA.
Yeah, right. The cell phone I bought for security and protection
in moments like this isn't in range to call anyone. "No Service"
it says. No kidding!
I sat for a few minutes moaning and complaining. It's a male thing.
Then I began emptying my trunk so that I could get at the tire and
tools needed to get the job done. I carry a large plastic container
filled with what I call "just-in-case-stuff." When I am training or
speaking, I love to have props with me. I hate leaving anything
home so I bring everything ...just in case.
Cars buzz by me. A few beep sarcastically. I hear the horn saying
"ha ha!" I say, "You'll get yours!" Darkness begins to settle in. It's
becoming a bit difficult to see. The tire is on the passenger side,
thank God, away from all the traffic, but making it difficult to benefit
from the headlights of passing cars.
Suddenly a car pulls off the road behind me. In the blinding light I
see a male figure approaching me. "Hey, do you need any help?"
"Well, it certainly isn't easy doing this with a white dress shirt and
suit on," I said. Then he steps into the light. I literally was
This young guy was dressed in black. Nearly everything imaginable
was pierced and tattooed. His hair was cropped and poorly cut. He
had leather bracelets with spikes on each wrist.
"How about I give you a hand?" he said.
"Well, I don't know . . . I think I can . . . "
"Come on, it will only take me a few minutes." He took right
over. While watching him I happened to look back at his car
and noticed for the first time someone sitting in the passenger
seat. That concerned me.
I suddenly felt outnumbered. Thoughts of car-jackings and robberies
flashed through my mind. I really just wanted to get this over and
Then, without warning, it began to pour. The night sky had hidden
the approaching clouds. It hit like a waterfall and made it impossible
to finish the tire change. "Look, my friend, just stop what you're doing.
I appreciate all your help. You better get going. I'll finish after the
rain stops," I said.
"Let me help you put your stuff back in the trunk. It will get ruined,"
he insisted. "Then get in my car. We'll wait with you," he insisted.
"No, really. I'll take care of everything," I said.
"You can't get in your car with the jack up like that. It will fall.
Come on. Get in," he said as he grabbed my arm and pulled me
toward the car. Crack! Boom! Lightning and thunder roared like a
freight train. I literally jumped in his car. "Oh, God, protect me!"
I thought to myself.
Wet and tired I settled into the back seat. Suddenly a small frail
voice came from the front seat of the car. "Are you all right?" she
said as she turned around to face me. "Yes, I am," I replied with
much relief seeing the old woman there. It must be his Mom.
"My name is Beatrice and this is my neighbor Jeff," she said.
"He insisted on stopping when he saw you struggling with the
tire." "I am grateful for his help," I said.
"Me, too!" she said with a laugh. "Jeff takes me to visit my
husband. We had to place him in a nursing home and it's about
30 minutes away from where we live. So, every Monday,
Wednesday and Friday, we have a date." She laughed
and shook her head.
"We're the remake of the Odd Couple," Jeff said as he joined
"Jeff, that's incredible what you do for her. I would never have
guessed, well, ah, you know I . . ." I stumbled with the words.
"I know. People who look like me don't do nice things," he said.
Silence. I really felt uncomfortable. I never believed that I judged
people by the way they dressed. I was angry with myself for being
"Jeff is a great kid. I'm not the only one he helps. He's a volunteer at
our church. He also works with the kids in the learning center at the
low income housing unit in our town," said Beatrice.
"I'm a tutor" Jeff said quietly as he stared at my car.
Silence again played a part now in a moment of reflection rather
than the uncomfortable feeling that I had insulted someone. He
was right. What he wore on the outside was a reflection of the
world as he saw it. What he wore on the inside was the spirit
of giving, caring and loving the world he wanted to see.
The rain stopped and Jeff and I changed the tire. I tried to offer
him money and of course he refused it. As we shook hands I
began to apologize for my stupidity.
He said, "I experience that same reaction often. I actually thought
about changing the way I look. But then I saw this as an opportunity
to make a point. So I'll leave you with the same question I ask everyone
who takes time to know me. If Jesus returned tomorrow and walked
among us again, would you recognize Him by what He wore or by
what He did?
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or
at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the
Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart'."
[ Author Unknown -- from 'andychaps_the-funnies' ]
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