Homeless man changes single moms tire at intersection where she had a flat

Lefty Graves

Homeless ManTimur Webe/Pexels

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

As a single mom, life wasn’t always fair. One particularly rough week, I was taking a child to the doctor in a large metropolis that I wasn’t familiar with when I heard that telltale thump of a flat tire. Looking around for a spot to pull over and assess the damage, I saw a parking area on the far side of the intersection. I gently nursed the car to the area and assessed the situation.

It was evident that I would have to change my tire, so I opened the trunk of my car and removed the jack and the spare tire. At this point in time, a man approached me who had been begging on the other side of the street. He kept a respectful distance as he cautiously approached me. He noted my flat tire and told me that he used to work at a car repair shop and said he would be happy to change the tire for me.

I was somewhat nervous as I didn’t know this man, but it was a fairly busy intersection, and there was a prominent business office beside us with plenty of large windows that overlooked the street. I stepped back as the man swiftly jumped in to change the tire. He had the tire changed in no time and placed the flat tire in the trunk alongside the jack for me.

As he shut the trunk of the car, he asked me if there was anything else that I needed. I told him no, and thanked him for helping me on the spot. All I had to offer him was $5 in my purse, but he refused, telling me he was just glad he was there to help. He said that he hoped that if it had been his daughter or mother that someone would have helped her.

I asked him if there was anything I could do to repay him, and he told me to ‘pay it forward.’ He said to me that one day someone else would be in need and to do something kind for them. I again thanked the man and asked him for his name.

He told me his name, and I told him my name, and I was on my way. I was surprised that he refused any money and impressed that he didn’t expect anything—what a gentleman. I’ll never forget the kind gesture of this man. I never saw him again, even though I passed that intersection several times that year. I hope that he found a safe place and that life was treating him better. Have you ever found help in a strange place?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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