Hooray for Steve Hunter!

Friday was the first day of summer break for my new student and all his school-going friends. My pal Sandi and I carpooled to the Dallas Zoo with our combined four children to help them celebrate. One missed exit and a flat tire later, we were stuck on the shoulder of the I 45 bridge just south of downtown Dallas. As we rattled to a stop, Sandi and I just looked at each other. Now what? She asked if I knew how to change a tire and was pleasantly surprised to hear me say "Yes."

I have to confess. I know how to change a tire, but it's all theory. I've never actually had to do the whole job. Every time, some nice person has come along to help me finish the hard part. But I am confident that if I had enough time, I could do it. My step-father taught me Basic Car Care 101 in the driveway of our home, the day after purchasing my first car (18 years ago!). He removed the tire, replaced it, then stepped back and coached me as I did it all. So thanks to him, I have the confidence to change a tire. Thanks to many kind, helpful strangers, I've never had to trust my "ability."

And yes, after I located the jack and lug wrench and began to crank the van up, along comes a stranger. We knew other help was coming, so he didn't stay long. The kids did great. The older ones prayed with Sandi inside the van. Me, I kept watching for cars to hit us from behind. At one point I put my hand on the railing and looked down, only to feel my stomach slither into my throat. Nope, couldn't jump if a car swerved too close. I was never so glad to see a truck with flashing blue and red lights pull up behind us. Steve Hunter, Dallas Courtesy Patrol officer extraordinaire, had arrived.

I had the Courtesy Patrol's number in my palm pilot and had called them (I love cell phones!) immediately after we stopped on the bridge. Mr. Hunter arrived within 10 minutes, no kidding. He changed the tire for us, then jumped the dead battery we'd run down keeping the kids cooled off. What a guy! Sandi's husband, Gary, had also come to help, hauling away stuff from the back of the van that might hinder the tire-removal process. We were back on track within the hour.

Oh, and the zoo was fun, too. Really!