Monday, as a few of you read, I was pretty down on this state as a whole. I was reminded of every reason I wanted to leave this state. Which for the record is a fairly extensive list. Then yesterday I was reminded of one of the things that makes this area great.

Don’t get me wrong, yesterday was a bad day. It was a bad day on top of a bad week on top of a bad month. In fact I pretty much hate 2012 so far, I do not think I’ve seen one thing go right. So I needed a little unexpected pick me up.

I was on my way to a meeting and as soon as I turned on Cantrell I heard a small pop. Almost immediately my low tire pressure light came on. No big deal I thought, I have a small service station that I use on Cantrell that was only about 2 miles away. I figured I would just pull in and have them plug it real quick. Then as I drove I watched my tire pressure go from 30 (when the light came on) to 25, 20, 15… it was losing about 2-3 pounds of pressure every second. There was no way I could make it.

For those of you local to here you know the only real place to pull over in that stretch is either the Dillard’s HQ parking lot or the Episcopal school. I went with Dillard’s. I was around 5 ppi when I entered the parking lot, quickly saw there were no visitor spots I could park and change a tire. At the last second I just pulled into a handicap spot for the extra space. I figured I could talk my way out of that ticket if I needed to.

I grab the spare and the jack and realize that the tire iron does not have a way to lift the jack and there is nothing else in the car to do it with. It is a new car and this is the first time I’ve had to change a tire on it. For whatever reason the manufacturer forgot to put something in to lift the jack.

I sit and think for a minute, then I realize that I pay $20 something a month for OnStar roadside, I’ll just have them come change it. I go through the 20 minute process of calling OnStar to have them send someone. They tell me they will call me back with an estimated time.

About that time a Dillard’s employee walks up and ask if I need some help. I say thanks, I’ve called OnStar and they will get here at some point. He absolutely refuses my refusal for him to help. Instead he drives his car over, digs out a floor jack, and starts lifting my car before I can tell him no. I got that call back from OnStar shortly after I was pulling out of the parking lot with my spare on. The estimated time was 50 minutes to 2 hours. I just told them no thanks.

See, that is the thing about this area that makes it special. People don’t just offer to care, or do it because they feel some obligation to offer assistance. They do it because helping people is just who they are. It is a cultural thing. I am fully capable of changing my own tire, the guy could see that. There was an issue with the jack and I was using what resources I had, and none of the facts of the situation mattered.

There is a kindness in certain people in this area that makes them shine out against the dirt and trash that make up things like what happen on Monday. We are still talking about a select few of our society, I’d venture to guess that there are more that shine than the others. However the content of their character is what really sets them apart.

I took the tire down to Austin Brothers, another example of people helping. We have been taking our cars there for 6 years now, after one day I (again) had a flat and it was the first place I could pull into. They promptly plugged it, aired it up, checked the air in my other tires, and then refused to let me pay them for their service. Since then we have bought 2 sets of tires and countless oil changes. All because they are the right kind of people.

The guy at Dillard’s name was Steve Brown, who was almost hesitant to tell me his name. Humility is a common characteristic of people who truly have culture of helping. I’ll probably never run into Steve again, but some of you may. See people with this culture are serial, they don’t just stop with helping one person. They do it over and over again. This was not the only thing that went wrong yesterday, but it ended up being the only one that mattered because of Steve.

Those are the type of people in this world that I want my daughter to know exist. That is the world I want her to know.

  • Kelli Marks

    While in college, I found myself with no car and a mother that thought it best to drop me off at UALR when I had to be at work at Park Plaza. As a teenage girl, I should not have accepted rides from people, but I did, for this very reason. Super nice people who don’t take no for an answer who just want to help. The trash you speak of, I chalk up to generations of ignorance. Some day that will be a thing of the past. Some day.

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