Back it up
May 8, 2019
Apparently, if you write a column about how everyone should be nice to one another, you will be tested.
I had a situation recently in which I either backed up my pretty talk or proved myself a hypocrite …
I was headed to the hot pool late the other night for a soak and then a run to take my girlfriend (who works the night shift) a cup of coffee.
When I got into the dressing room at the hot pool, I noticed two young men kind of hanging around.
One was trying to charge his phone on an outlet near the sinks and the other was laying on one of the benches.
I didn’t think too much about this since I have seen this kind of thing before. So, I said “Hi” and went to soak.
I hadn’t been in the pool too long when one of the youths came out and said they had a flat just north of town and would have fixed it but for the locking lug nuts on the wheel that had gone flat.
Since I have locking lugs on my car, I offered to take them out to their car and see if my lug wrench adapter would fit.
After an abbreviated soak, I wrapped up and took the pair to their car.
It turned out the car was a good bit further away from town on the highway (I would guess about 17 miles) than I would have thought and I mentioned that it must have been a long walk into town from their car.
They said someone had tried to help them change their tire, but did not have the specialized adapter needed and the samaritan had given them a ride into town.
On the way to the car the pair explained they were from the nearby Colorado town of Walden and that they were going to Rawlins (45 miles northeast of us) to pick up one of their brothers—for what I never asked or found out.
Upon arriving at the car, we tried my adapter on their lugs. Though the pattern was right, the socket was too small.
On the way back into town, they mentioned their idea was to hang out at the hot pool until morning.
I thought about it for a long moment, rapidly weighing the possible ups and downs before I finally let the two know I had an empty guest room that they could use for the night.
I told them I had to make my coffee delivery, but that after that I would get them settled in.
On the way to the convenience store, one of the two asked if I had a charging cord for an iPhone since his was not working properly. I told him I did not and they said they would look for one at the store.
At the convenience store I got my coffee, but the two did not find a cord they could afford, so we headed up to make the coffee drop off.
While at my girlfriend’s place of employment I told her why I was late—it being well after midnight and all.
She asked me if I was sure about letting two strangers into my house and how I would feel if she had done the same thing. She ended the conversation with, “I don’t want you to be a statistic.”
I gave her some offhand reply and then realized she had an iPhone. I asked her if she had a charging cord handy. Turns out she had two, so I borrowed one and got the guys back to the house and set up for the night.
The next morning, I sent the pair over to the local auto parts store to look for the locking lug socket while I took a shower. When I was done the pair were standing in the doorway and let me know they had been unsuccessful in their quest.
I told them I had to go to Rawlins that day on business anyway and I could take them to their friend and also to see if the auto parts store there had the adapter.
Before we left, I had to stop by the office and I had the two cross the street to the hardware store to check if that store had a socket. That was also unsuccessful and we began our journey to Rawlins.
As I was leaving town I saw the Shively North store and remembered they do tires. I thought it would be worth a shot to see if they had one, so I stopped there.
Once there, I was sent back to talk to Marty to see if they had an adapter. I showed him my adapter and told him it was the same but bigger. Marty took a look then pulled out three adapters. I asked him if I could borrow them for a while and he said yes, but that he would need them back quickly just in case he needed them for a client.
On the way back out to their car, I finally introduced myself and found out the pair were Carlos and Alejandro, who were wrestlers and football players for their high school.
I know I should have introduced myself way earlier—I don’t know what to tell you about that lapse.
When we got back to the stricken vehicle the very first adapter we tried worked. I loosened the lugs and jacked up the car lifting it to the full extent of my hydraulic jack. I got the tire off and the two proceeded to put the donut tire back on the vehicle. Unfortunately … you guessed it … the car was not jacked high enough to get the replacement on.
I was just thinking about lowering the car onto the ripped tire rim and then finding something to jack it up higher with when Saratoga resident Brenda Zeiger stopped and asked if she could help.
I asked if she had a jack handy and she produced a functional scissor jack. Brenda told me she needed to get to Rawlins herself but that she would collect the jack at the Sun office later on. I told her it would be there and thanked her for her help.
Eventually, we got the car ready to roll and they said they were just going to head back to Walden. They thanked me for my help and I went to return the helpful tool to Shively’s before heading to Rawlins to complete my business there.
On the way back to Rawlins I saw the pair heading south and driving slowly and courteously—getting over to let people pass on the two lane highway. I waved and smiled as I passed the pair.
My hope is that Carlos and Alejandro will now be of a disposition to “pay it forward” and help someone else in need in the future. I also hope they learned how friendly Wyomingonians can be; from the person who gave them a ride back into town to begin with, to Marty who lent us the tool and Brenda who let me borrow the extra jack.
Another hope I have is that all of our youths (or anyone for that matter) benefit from the aid of strangers when they are in need.
Like most people, I have been hypocritical in the past. I am happy to report that, at least this time, I was not.
I was pretty satisfied with this column, but was told a few days later that the pair of visitors had returned to Shivley’s for a pair of used tires. Apparently the two, when they were supposed to come around front to pay for the tires, just took off.
I feel kinda bad about that, but as one Shively’s employee told me, “Karma’s gonna get ‘em.”
Anyway, If Shively’s doesn’t pursue the two, it just ends up being another kindness on our part.