by The Mom
I’m close to 40. I was raised in the old-fashioned way, and frequently mourn the loss of a time when people took care of one another. I wonder if my three sons will be the gentlemen I try to raise them to be.
In mid-October, 2010, I needed to pick up my youngest son from school drama practice. I buckled my daughter in her car seat and took off like a herd of turtles. First stop: the closest air pump, as I had a tire going flat. I filled the tire with my last dollar.
Once out of the gas station, POP!, the van jerked, then thump, thump, thump. Sigh. The tire was 100% flat and I was out of cash. OK, I can change a tire.
However… the l’il one had been sick since she was born and when she was *that* sick, I couldn’t leave her unattended beyond a couple minutes. I had to be ready to assist her with any problems. I called AAA and waited for my temporary champion in a tow truck and grease-smeared hands to help change the flat.
I called my son and husband to inform them of the delay. I put the cell down and get scared half to death: someone was beating on my window.
It was a young African American man. I freaked because where the car broke down was not the safest place. He asked if I needed help. I nervously told him I had assistance coming. The area, not the person, made me nervous; he was well-mannered and polite.
He respondsed, “Yeah, but I’m here NOW!” I took all the factors into consideration. Sick child, another child stranded, husband working too far away to help, van on a busy street, still half an hour wait for AAA.
I thanked him and told him I couldn’t afford to pay him.
He chortled and told me he hadn’t asked for money.
Together, we worked to replace the tire with the spare. He did the majority of it since I had to watch my daughter. In under 15 minutes he had me ready to drive. When I asked him his name, he said Tracey. I thanked him appreciatively for the help he had given. He walked off before I could say anything else. I passed him a minute later and waved thank you again as he smiled and waved back.
I seriously had thought chivalry was dead. But this man, young enough to be my son, had stopped to help a complete stranger out of the blue for no reason at all.
I might not ever get to tell Tracey’s family they should be proud of their son. But I can put this story out there in hopes it might reach them. Tracey showed me something I needed to learn and gave me a little more hope about today’s young men.
Thank you, Tracey. Your actions meant a great deal to me.