Chivalry on the Interstate

His steed was a tire-service truck. His livery was a mechanic’s uniform. His bright sword was a lug wrench.

I had suffered a flat on the interstate, and though I had the necessary tools and equipment to change it, I had discovered that the lug nuts had been screwed down too tightly for me to loosen with the lug wrench I had with me.

I had tried a number of tricks including using my second jack as a prop and hitting the lug wrench with a hammer. Nothing worked.

The tire-service truck pulled over in front of me and the man got out and asked what the problem was. When I told him, he reached into the back of the truck and pulled out a wrench with longer arms, with which I broke the lug nuts loose with relative ease. Although he didn’t do much actively (realizing that my only problem was insufficient equipment), he hung around until I got the tire changed, recommending a couple of safety procedures which I gladly adopted.

When I had got the spare on and was putting away the wheel and the jack, he got into the truck and drove off. I’m pretty sure I thanked him at some point, but I had intended to shake his hand before he left. But he was gone before I realized it. Although what he did was in the context of his trade, he never mentioned payment. In fact, he might have left the way he did to keep me from offering it.

Jeb Raitt, Virginia

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