Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fire in My Tires

Photo Description: Logo for Firestone Complete Auto Care
I've written before about the massive design flaw on my power wheelchair, and that flaw causes me, oddly, to come into contact with some of the nicest people. You see the problem is the tires. They've made it so that an ordinary human mortal, with regular kind of tools, can't put air in the tires. I guess that would be WAY to convenient for those of us who roll around on tires to actually be able to put air in those tires. As a result, when the tires get low, I have to seek out a mechanic or a tire specialist of some sort and ask if they would mind taking a few minutes - because it's hard for them to do too - to pump me up. Here's the thing, no one, any where, has let me pay for the service. They all insist it's too small a job to charge for, or that it's no big deal, or that, as one guy insists, it's a nice break from the routine.

We left Toronto on this road trip knowing that my tires were dangerously low. As a result the steering became sluggish, carpets became really hard to navigate and backing up was powerfully slow. I knew, just knew, that we should have gone and got them filled where we usually go. I held back because that's the only place I go and I hate having to go and ask them a few times a year. Not because they raise a complaint but because I feel like I'm bothering them. People don't have to make you feel a bother for you to feel a bother.

Well, yesterday we were leaving a mall and I spotted a Firestone Store and, even though it was late and we were both tired, I, on impulse, said, "Let's go see if they will do my tires." Joe missed the turn into the store but we were determined now so we went round the block and found our way in. Joe pulled up by the entrance, went in, I saw him waiting in line to ask if they would do wheelchair tires. When he got to the front of the line, he was there only seconds. The man behind the desk, said they would help, no question.

We pulled up to where I thought I would get out but the mechanic just waved us over, had me unclamped while in the van so I could move around for him to get at the tires. First one side, then the other, and it was done. It's weird sitting in a chair that's getting tires pumped, You rise up on one side, then the other. We thanked him, he brushed off the thanks, and, after clamping me back down, we drove off with tires perfectly filled.

It's like driving a whole new chair.

The responsiveness is amazing.

I'd forgotten.

These guys who have filled my chair, and there have been many, over the six years I've had it, have, to a one, been decent people, glad to help.

Maybe my tires get low just so that I can be reminded of the basic human goodness of people. That asking for help needn't bring me low, or that, even if it did, I'd be pumped right back up.


clairesmum said...

interesting that your requests have generally been met with a willingness to help, in this mobility task...a great contrast to some of the other ones....and i'm glad you've got the zip back in your wheels.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

LET people help you in a tangible way that you actually request: it is a huge stroke for THEM to be able to see a disabled person and HELP that person.

It is a bonus that you are always going to end up interacting with these willing people, and subtly teaching them (if they don't know already) that disabled people are 'regular' people.

It is so hard to know how to help someone who is disabled! I'm not surprised you get this wonderful service. But, if you look at it right, you are providing a service, too, when you ask.

Tamara said...

Apparently, tire guys are good guys. I'm married to one. He sells them now, but used to change them. Used to go out on the highway in the middle of the night once in awhile to change those tractor-trailer tires. Not so fun. So - a few minutes to help another human in need - and to do something easy - probably a nice break! Maybe you need to go in once a month to get a little air - the performance probably goes down so slowly you don't even notice it.

Anonymous said...

I think all of us need to get "air in our tires" figuratively - and it requires another person to help. It's hard to ask for that help, I agree!