San Juan, PR. 5:30pm, Saturday afternoon. The three of us drive along, traversing moderate traffic by keeping to the far left lane to avoid missing our turn, content that after a great day of sightseeing, we would be home by 7:00pm or earlier.
Rachel: “What’s that?!”
Danielle and I: “Flat tire!”
“Okay, get over to the right.”
“I can’t pull over here!”
“Just go right. Get your flashers on.”
“You’re good—merge one.”
“Where do I go? There’s no shoulder.”
“Just…here, I guess…pull over as far as you can against the guard rail.”
We pulled over in the on/off lane on the freeway, right near the mall in San Juan. I got out to assess the damage—we’d been riding the rim of my right front tire.
In the trunk, we found a tiny spare tire and a tire iron, but no jack. Even had one of us been confident changing a spare tire, we couldn’t do anything without a jack.
Danielle googled roadside assistance in San Juan on her phone, and I called ask asked them to bring me a jack. Then we waited, perched on the guard rail behind my car.
Not five minutes later, a car pulled up, and two guys got out and asked if we needed help.
The cute one proceeded to pull a jack and several other tools from his car and began changing my tire. The…not cute…one stood shining a headlamp at oncoming cars (adding his own version of hazard lights??).
The cute one soon found, however, that my spare tire was…flat. “I’ll take it,” he said in Spanish, “and fill it.” He left his friend with us and sped off, returning maybe 10 minutes later with a spare full of air.
We thanked him profusely, gave him $20 for his time (he was a lot cheaper than roadside assistance would have been), and were on our way, driving 40-50mph on the 65mph expressway.
We laughed at our adventure, thanked the kindness of strangers, and were in pretty good spirits…for about 20 minutes, until we heard a BOOM followed by that all too familiar ca-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunka as the spare exploded.
|Okay, with a spare that small...it's no wonder it exploded.|
We pulled over and inched ahead until we got to an area with a shoulder—in the grass beneath the well-lit “Welcome to Caguas” sign.
We called Eddie (who has now saved all of us too many times to count this year) and he began “working on” our problem. We were still 45 minutes from home, with no spare, and most tire places were closed by 7:00pm on a Saturday.
Soon, another stranger stopped to offer his assistance. This one drove a tow truck.
Mr. Tow Truck knew a used tire place in Caguas that was open, and offered to tow us there for $40. However, we decided it would be cheaper to just send Eddie to said tire place and wait right where we were.
Just as Mr. Tow Truck was about to leave, a police officer pulled up. He told us we weren’t safe where we were (he should have seen the place we were pulled over in San Juan), and told us we had to get off of the side of the road.
We figured we were just back to plan A, and would let the tow truck driver tow us to the tire place. But when we called Eddie, he said he already had a tire for us and was on his way.
So Mr. Tow Truck towed us to the mall in Caguas (for only $30) and we waited there for Eddie, our savior, to show up.
|Left my purse in the car...so I couldn't get a picture|
of it on the tow truck...but i took one right after.
Good little blogger that I am.
We arrived back in Guayama at 10pm—only 3 hours later than anticipated—but thanks to the kindness of strangers, a willingness to go with the flow, and our ability to laugh at our misfortunes, I’d still say the day—and night—was a success.