Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flat Tire Or Mammogram

To my son Tommy,

I realized on my commute into work that there is no universal hand signal for "Hey buddy you have a flat tire"  or if there is I am ignorant of this fact.  I noticed the guy in front of me, as we were getting on the beltway from the route forty ramp, had their passenger side rear tire going severely flat but not yet scraping rim.  There are two things you can do when you see this.  One, you can shrug it off with a "Sucks to be him" or two, you can pull along side and try to inform the person.  It easier to do the first but you should at least attempt the latter assuming you can do so with out endangering yourself or others.  You don't want to drive recklessly and risk life and limb to alert someone about a flat tire that they are already going to find out about in twenty minutes when the sparks start flying and the sound of metal on asphalt overcomes the blaring radio in their car.

Since I am cursed with good upbringing, I pulled alongside this vehicle and attempted to alert them.  After a quick honk to grab the driver's (female) and passenger's (male) attention, I realized that I could use a good acme sign like Wile E. Coyote.  I then attempted to squish my hands in front of my chest to try to show a flat tire.  I am sure the guy in the passenger seat was thinking, "Hey honey...this guy evidently thinks you should get a mammogram" as he just kind of nodded and smiled like I was recently released from Spring Grove psychiatric hospital.  After some exaggerated lip movement of the words "flat tire" and a point to their rear tire, she seemed to get it or at least wanted to make me feel like she understood so they could get away from me.  I veered off on the interstate 70 exit and they continued on the beltway.

There is probably no greater a measure of character than the effort you give to help a total stranger.  There will be many times in your life that you will be put in the position where you are not required to do anything.  No one would know if I just left that person unaware of their flat tire.  Frankly no one knows if I did make that person aware, though now people know I made the effort.

There is no right or wrong answer as to when you should try to help and when you should leave things be.  Each situation is different.  You drive past a person stranded on the side of the road, do you stop and risk your life to help or do you just call the authorities so they can come help or do you pass by with doing nothing? There are circumstances that make each of those options the right thing to do,  but as a general rule always give it the old college try to help your fellow man.  Hopefully the axiom that "no good deed goes unpunished" will not hold true for the the times when you decide to be the good Samaritan.

Sincerely with love from your dad,
Leo Downey

No comments:

Post a Comment