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Un-dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

Thaddeus Kosciuszko

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This morning on my way to work I stopped at a mini-mart to pick up something for breakfast; something I might do once every two weeks.  I noticed a lady attempting to put winter air into a tire on her car.  I went inside the store, and I saw that she too had come in the store.  Her hair had gotten soaked in the rain trying to fill the tire, and she was looking lost.


I asked if she needed help, and she said she couldn't get the air compressor to fill the tire.  I looked at the tire and the valve was shot.  The tire was dead flat, and the lady had probably destroyed it getting to the mini mart.


I asked if she had a spare, and she said yes.  Turns out her son had borrowed her jack and tire iron and didn't put them back.  So I grabbed the jack and tire iron from my car.  The jack wasn't an exact match, but I got it to work.  Once the lug nuts were off I found out the aluminum rim had frozen itself on the steel hub. 


While this was going on she was telling me her Mom had died last week, she'd got a speeding ticket two days ago, and now this, and how Christmas wasn't going to be very good this year. I didn't know what to say, except that I was sorry about her mom.


To free the tire I grabbed the breaker bar I carry for stubborn lug nuts and gave the rim a few shots.  It dimpled the rim edge but from the looks of the car and the rim itself I figured it had seen far worse abuse.  After half dozen sharp 'taps' the rim broke free.  I put the spare on.  She offered me to pay me for helping her but I suggested instead that I couldn't take the money, but that I'd like her to donate it to charity.


In reality, from the looks of her car and the way she was dressed I suspect she needed the cash as much as any charity, so in the end she might not ever make the donation.  But then again, it's not fair to judge someone by their appearances.  She might have more money than Trump stashed away and chooses not to spend it on cars, clothes, or the hairdresser.


I admit I nearly kept walking out of the store, not making eye contact with the lady.  I had a project deadline today and really needed to get to work on time.  I feel better though that I did stop, and that - at least as of yet - the world hasn't entirely hardened me yet to the misfortunes of others.  That I can still sympathize with someone caught in tough spot and offer to help simply because I can.

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