Flat Tires, Cell Phones, Rhode Island

There was a time before cell phones, before 3G’s and 4G’s and IOS7’s, when we had to navigate our way across the country using the paper maps that could never be refolded in a way that would make it look as though your cat hadn’t been sleeping on it. There was a time when you had to actually learn how to change a flat tire rather than calling AAA to come and do it for you or wait for the kindness of a stranger passing by to help.

I know that I’m tempting fate by saying this, but I’ve only ever had a flat tire once. It was long before cell phones, when you had to wait on the side of the road for someone to take pity on you and stop to ask if you needed help. You never knew who was going to stop and could only hope for the best!

exit 10I was driving from my apartment in South County to my brother’s in West Warwick, I don’t remember the occasion. What I DO remember is being just half a mile from the exit off of I-95 North to route 117 when I heard a thud, my car pulled to the right, and like a crazy person I panicked and crossed two lanes of traffic to get to the breakdown lane.
It was probably about 45 minutes before anyone was brave enough to stop on the busy highway.

A green Volkswagen Beetle pulled up behind me and out jumped someone I’d grown up with; of course, since it’s Rhode Island I was bound to either know or be related to whoever stopped.

green beetle“Hi, Kel. You need some help?”

“Hi, Mark. Yup. Can you give me a ride to my brother’s house?”


I probably hadn’t seen Mark since we graduated from high school, but no worries; there he was, friendly and helpful. I haven’t seen him since then either, so I hope he’s doing well. Thanks, Mark!

One thought on “Flat Tires, Cell Phones, Rhode Island

  1. When I graduated high school my parents moved from VA to FL. I stayed back for the summer to work my job and then drove by myself (with my fish) down to FL. In rural North Carolina, on I-95, my tire blew out. I luckily was able to get to the side of the road and even slowly down an exit ramp to a dirt patch, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. This was before cell phones as well and I began to worry as to what to do. Just then an entire bus filled with a Christian youth group stopped. They took the lead and had my spare tire on in no time. Anything could have happened that day, but thankfully it was an act of kindness that prevailed. I didn’t know what church they came from or how to ever get in touch with them again, but I have thought about that moment a lot. Thanks for your story today as it once again reminded me of my own similar moment of thankfulness.


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