THANKFUL CHIVALRY IS STILL ALIVE When thinking about things I am thankful for, this year’s New Years’ Eve came to mind. On my way to admit a new hospice patient, I had a sudden blow-out in a strange area. I wanted to cry. I prayed and thanked God for my safety, then limped my little hatchback to the closest business with a lighted parking lot. Once I got out and looked at my tire, I realized I was conveniently in the lot of an auto repair shop. My hopes were dashed.
The repair shop was closed and locked up tight. The lights were on, but no one was home. I went back to my car and called Triple-A. What did we do before cell phones? I guess, I changed the tire myself. Triple-A said a driver could arrive within a two-hour window. I called my patient’s family to tell them I would be delayed and where I was located. The patient’s daughter pointed out there should be a tire shop close by. I looked down the road and saw it a few doors down. “I see it,” I told her. She suggested they should still be open as they didn’t close before seven. It was now only a dark 6:30 p.m., so I cautiously walked down to the shop. I passed a firework’s stand with lots of people standing in line and felt a bit safer. Though walking through the parked cars and old vans felt risky.
The inside lights to the tire shop were on and the gated metal-bar door was open. I peered in the window, no one, I tried the main door and it opened. A warm coffee cup with cream sat on the counter. The register was still on as was a calculator. Expensive wheels hung on the wall and new tire smell filled the room. No way they left this open to the public. Something must be wrong.
“Hello?” I called out. No answer. “Hello,” I tried again.” Still no answer. The bathroom door was shut so I waited, thinking the salesperson was in the bathroom. Taking a business card from the counter, I called the number to the shop while standing in their show room. I could hear the phone ring, but no answer. I noticed an office door ajar and prayed as I rounded the back side of the counter, I wouldn’t find a dead body on the floor. I looked. No dead body. I approached the office door and called out.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” I inhaled a deep breath and nearly tasted rubber. I held my breath as I creaked the office door open, fearful I’d find a robber on the other side of the door and an employee slumped over the desk or on the floor. Neither was the case. Just the usual small business office with stacks of loose paper, a dusty computer and scribbled up desk calendar. I eased back and shut the door. I went toward the bathroom, calling again for anyone to answer. No one in the bathroom, and I thought to myself. Hey, at least it’s clean and has a lock on the door. I thanked the Lord for the opportunity since I didn’t know when the next chance would be,and I made use of it.
When I came out drying my hands, still no one had come inside. I stood for another minute trying to decide if I should call the police when a cute little pregnant girl came waddling in the front door. She was as shocked as I was. Relieved to see someone, I explained my tire blow out and how I’d found her shop open and unattended. She acknowledged my concern then said her husband and some friends from the auto repair shop were out back cooking and celebrating the New year. She offered to go ask one of them to come change my tire and would meet me at my car. I expressed my gratitude to her and walked back to my car feeling much safer and cared for. While I waited, I began taking out the load of patient supplies I carry in the trunk. Soon the young lady showed up alone and apologized, but the men had said they were closed and couldn’t help me. Great. What happened to chivalry?
I checked my watch. It would still be another hour or so before Triple-A could get there, and I couldn’t imagine waiting for them. I’d changed a flat before. I knew how. What was my problem? Just because I’m over 65 doesn’t mean I’m helpless. I proceeded to take my donut spare out of the car, when patient’s daughter called me back and said her husband and brother were on their way to assist me. I was embarrassed, but so grateful. They were there in minutes and I called Triple-A to cancel.
When you feel like people are self-centered, someone shows up to remind you there are still good people in the world. These men were going through their own personal problems with a dying father yet took the time change a flat. I got the impression even if they didn’t know me, they would have helped, even on a holiday. They were disappointed in the men at the shop for leaving me stranded, but they changed the flat and refused a tip. When we arrived at their father’s home, they were grilling New Year’s Eve dinner for their families and offered me a plate which I declined. However, the patient’s wife and daughter brought me a smooth, rich hot chocolate drink called Champurrado which I didn’t decline. And was glad I didn’t. It was delicious and just what I needed to warm me up. The family were delightful, and what started out as a disastrous, almost dangerous, evening became a great finale to my New Year’s Eve. God really blessed me. He’s always watching over me.
Since then, their father has passed away, and I will not likely see them again, but I will not soon forget their gracious treatment. I pray blessings for them and am glad they had a father who taught them to be chivalrous.
How about you? Have you ever found yourself in a nearly dangerous situation? Or how about being chivalrous or needing a bit of chivalry? I’m thankful my parents taught me to appreciate a good host and hostess. I pray I, too, will always be willing to help a person in need.
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