While driving home from work on a recent Friday evening on I-75, I spotted a Ford Explorer with a flat tire at the Dix-Toledo entrance. In my passenger mirror I saw someone struggling to jack-up the SUV. I circled back at the next and found a large family, including a mother, several small children, and a frightened grandmother, with traffic whizzing by inches away at 70 mph. I called AAA immediately to request roadside assistance. While I was in my car on that call, a man in a pickup truck pulled up behind them, jumped out with an industrial jack and changed that tire faster than a NASCAR pit crew. I got out, asked the mom if they were okay, and at that very moment my journey home took another unexpected turn.
As we spoke, we heard a flopping noise approaching from the north. As we turned to look, an old patchwork-colored Ford Crown Victoria rolled slowly by with its emergency flashers blinking. As I returned to my car, the Crown Vic pulled onto the shoulder a few hundred feet ahead. I pulled in front and again stopped to see how I could help. It was an elderly couple and it wasn’t just any tire that had blown out; it was their spare! I asked if he could make it to the next exit and he said he’d try. So, off we went at 10 mph down the shoulder and right lane of I-75, until we reached the Northline Road exit in Southgate (where I live) and pulled in to a gas station.
I introduced myself to Don and asked him what his plan was, but he had none. I suggested getting a tow, but he indicated that he couldn’t afford it. When he told me they were on their way home to Toledo, I recalled that I have AAA Plus, which entitles me to up to 100 miles of free towing. So I called AAA again and scheduled the free tow.
By this time, I was quite late and our diabetic dog must eat and get insulin shots every 12 hours. So, I ran home quickly and while home taking care of Rascal I noticed the pink roses I had surprised my wife with the previous day, so I grabbed one and headed back to the gas station to wait for the tow truck.
I showed Don the rose first and asked his permission to give it to the lady in the car. He happily consented and when I handed it to her and told her that I hoped it would brighten her day, she started to cry and asked if I was an angel.
I told them that many people helped my family during difficult times and I was just doing the same. The tow truck arrived. I tipped the driver $20 and asked him to get them home safely.
I paid my respects and – like my childhood hero, the Lone Ranger, road off into the sunset with my trusty white Mustang (2011 GT/CS).