Flat Tires and Helpful Firemen.


I had stopped at Starbucks as is my usual fashion and was driving through Circle C to reach IH 45 when I inadvertently clipped a curb. I didn’t think too much of it until bells began to ring and the low tire lights came on the dashboard. I have had problems with the right rear with a very slow leak and periodically, the lights come on to let me know that I need to air it up. So, thinking that it was a recurrence of the same problem, I continued driving.

This time though, I could hear the additional sound of a flat tire as it flip flopped on the road so I drove into the Exxon station where IH 45 meets with RR 1826 and got out to take a look. Not only was the tire completely flat, it also had a big chunk gouged out of the sidewall. It appears that I really had done some major damage when I clipped the curb.

I pulled up next the wash bay and opened the trunk lid with the intentions of getting out the jack and had got as far as lifting the cover from the spare wheel well when I heard a voice behind me asking if I needed help. Before looking to see who it was, I replied that I could do it. I am so used to being independant and I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me because I am an old man. I am very capable of doing nearly everything for myself. It’s really just my foolish pride.

I raised my head and saw that there were three firemen who had pulled into the gas station and then had noticed my problem and had come over to see if they could be of assistance. I immediately apologised to them and told them that yes, I would appreciate some help. They completely took over and the three of them changed the wheel, put on the spare and put everything away for me. I offered to buy them coffee or whatever they might be drinking but they very politely refused. I thanked them again and they went on their way as I did mine.

Funny how the cards play out. I clip a curb and get a flat. I pull into the gas station and help arrives in the form of three firemen. I believe they were from Austin Fire Department Station 43 as it is the closest station to where I was parked. Again, a thousand thanks to all of you.

When I got home, I immediately got on the computer to see if I could find a matching tire and get it installed the next day. I got the information off the tire and it read, Continental Contiprocontact 235/45/ R19. I had no idea what that all meant and as I was curious, looked it up. Thank goodness for Google. Turns out that that 235 is the width of the tire and 45 is the sidewall height and 19 is the size of the wheel. Oh yes, the R in front of 19 means it is rated up to 115 miles an hour, much faster than I will ever drive or have driven in my lifetime. Needless to say that armed with this information, I was able to locate a tire of the exact size and make at Discount Tire, just 4 miles up the road in Bee Caves from where I live. I checked and they opened at 8:00 am the next day, Saturday.

I got up bright and early (for me) and when I arrived around 8:15 or so, all of the bays were already full and they were just doing a wonderful business changing out tire after tire. I checked in and was given the bad news that with the cost of the tire, $215.00 and mounting and balancing, disposing of the old one and a damage warranty, the total cost was $299.00. I had no choice so got them to go ahead. Meanwhile, I sat and read the newspaper I had brought with me and by the time I finished it, my car was ready. They had very neatly put everything away and closed out the floor cover.

The bad news is that after spending almost $300.00, there are no noticeable improvements to my car. In fact, you could say that all we have done is to bring it back to normal. On the other hand, I did have a very nice experience with the firemen and that brought back some belief in mankind. Obviously, it is not all gone to hell and there is still a lot of good in the world.

With all four tires back to normal, I went on the subject of my next blog and drove to McKinney Nature Park at Bastrop to hike.

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