Friday, July 09, 2010

Canadian Tire

There's something about mechanics.

Something very cool.

A couple of years ago when in Ireland for the Down Syndrome Association I lost the rubber off of my wheelchair. We pulled into a garage near the hotel and the mechanic and rough guy with black tattooed around his fingernails quickly and easily put the rubber back on the wheels. He waved away payment and sent us on our way. His manner was brusque but his action kind. I put that memory away in my head.

My power wheelchair, Henry, has a design problem. The big tires, the one's that need air, has the 'air filly thingy' in such a position that it's impossible to get at. To fill the tires we have to go over to Canadian Tire on Yonge street. Go downstairs in the store, outside into the parking lot and then drive down a deeply sloped road and turn into the garage. I've now been twice.

Both times we've had a mechanic who, almost without speaking, grabs the air and then fills the low tire. Both times the mechanic insists on balancing the two tires and then sends us on the way, without payment, without even wanting thanks. Again, gruff guys, kind spirits.

I think that what makes them cool, or at least cool in my eyes, is that they are helping me and not taking payment - not out of pity, but out of a sense of 'it's the right thing to do'. There is a huge difference between those two things.

It's taken me a long time to figure out why I was never bothered by their refusal of payment and their dismissive way with my thanks. When I realized that the source of their actions was 'values' rather than 'pity' ... I understood something very new and for me, very deep.

So if you see me in the chair realize that I'm riding on Canadian Tires.


Brenda said...

Thanks for this, Dave. Your "difference between 'values' and 'pity'" theory was just the lightbulb moment I needed this morning. Enjoy this blessed rain and cooler temps!

Anonymous said...

The wheeliecrone says -
I ride on Australian tyres for the very same reason!

Moose said...

If only it were the same for dealing with vehicle problems.

I don't know which it is that triggers the issue. I go to mechanics that are highly rated online and I get unethical, sometimes outright illegal treatment.

Is it my gender? My weight? That I'm disabled? Some combination of the above? It's gotten worse as the years have gone by. I'm starting to think it is a belief that women are stupid, but disabled women are even stupider.

Lene Andersen said...

it's all about dignity, isn't it and the mechanics obviously know.

Kristin said...

What a wonderful and valuable realization.

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

Ah, yes, doing something just because it's the right thing to do. I was raised with exactly that value system, and it's a rare thing in this world. Thanks for reminding me that it's still out there.

I'm so glad that you get to be the recipient of this way of living.