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Pay It Forward

A couple of days ago, Tarun and I were talking to friends while driving on a busy downtown street when the low tire pressure indicator came on. Like jaded drivers, we said we will take care of it when we have time.

And then...rattle-rattle-rattle. The sound you don't want coming from any car, least of all yours!

By the time Tarun pulled into a side street and parallel parked, there was little doubt we were driving on the rim. Not only had the air leaked out, the tire had completely pulled away from the rim. It was flat as flat can be.

This isn't the first time we've had a flat tire.

I've changed a tire on the side of an interstate, Tarun and I switched tires in the Mojave desert where I had convinced him to go on a 120F day because it was important to see where Clint Eastwood lived in the westerns we so adored. Tarun has only recently stopped talking about this episode so...shhh!

Each time, a kind stranger has come to our assistance.

On the interstate, a dude in a tank top and shorts rolled up in a convertible and helped me finish the job. In the Mojave when Tarun and I were passing out from dehydration, an angel appeared from nowhere and gave the lug nuts a final turn.

This time, we were on a side road, the weather was pleasant, and we knew what to do. Yet, we got stuck on step 1. The car's manual simply said, "Lift the jack out of the bracket". We tried everything including me climbing into the trunk to yank it out but the jack refused to budge.

Cue the smart phones. YouTube told us to turn the screw on the jack to release it from the holder.

Dear Honda, epic fail on the instructions?!

We got the jack under the car and just as we were raising it, a gent showed up to help. He said he saw us from his kitchen window. What he didn't know was this was episode three for us and what he didn’t say was that we looked like novices. He stayed with us until the job was done. Together, we discovered the culprit - a long piece of glass had sliced the tire.

Here's the sweet thing about our encounter with this gent.

We think the man leaned to the opposite end of the political spectrum from us. He never let that get in the way and, for obvious reasons, neither did we. We didn't talk about the pandemic or masks or foreign-made cars with wimpy tires. We simply focused on getting us back on the road.

We thanked him profusely with the overwhelming feeling that there is hope!

Despite being entrenched in a hyper-partisan world, it was heart-warming to experience a random act of kindness from an unexpected source. After we got back home, we sent good wishes to the gentleman. We reminded ourselves that there is absolutely no substitute for kindness when there is nothing to be gained and the only way to repay it is to pay it forward.

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