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by Robin Chattopadhyay
I have been volunteering with the Red Cross locally for three years. This September, I volunteered to go to Florida to help with the relief efforts there, based in Ft. Myers. While I was there, one of my jobs was to survey communities to identify impacted communities so that Red Cross services could be targeted better.
In a rural area outside of Arcadia, Florida, my partner and I ended up on a winding country road with a flat tire on the rental car we were driving. We pulled on to the shoulder (such as it was) and got out of the car. My partner, Bob, got the jack and spare out of the trunk and I started to call the Red Cross transportation coordinator volunteer to let him know what had happened.
In the meantime, a local resident who happened to be mowing his lawn drove up on his riding mower to see what was going on. He said, “Y’all are gonna get hit if you stay there. People come around that curve so fast and they’ll never see you before they hit you,” pointing vaguely in the direction we had just come.
We explained that we had a flat tire and were trying to change it as quickly as possible. He responded that his name was Jeff and that he owned a mobile tire repair business and if we could just get the car into his driveway, he would see if he could fix it for us.
We lowered the car off the jack and moved it while he went back up to his house and got his truck. He felt all around the tire, then pumped it full of air to see where it was leaking from. Once there was some pressure in the tire, it was clear to all three of us where the hole was.
Jeff rifled through his truck until he found what he was looking for and came back with a plug kit. He plugged the hole in our tire and sent us on our way. We asked him how much we owed him but he didn’t want our money. He said that he was pretty sure the plug would hold until we got back to Ft. Myers, but if it didn’t we should call him and he would come fix it for us again.
We thanked him profusely both before and after taking a selfie and went on our way. We didn’t have a problem with the car that day or any of the other days in the two following weeks.