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The Flat Tire

My tire had a huge nail in it. Of all times for this to happen–a flat tire. But when is a good time for a flat tire? Not when you are wearing a suit and you have been traveling for nearly five hours and, adding to this bleak picture, nightfall is approaching. Did I mention that I was on a country road? Okay, now you have the picture.

There was only one thing to do: call AAA. Yeah, right. The cell phone I bought for security and protection in moments like this isn’t in range to call anyone. “No Service” it says. No kidding!

I sat for a few minutes moaning and complaining. It’s a male thing. Then I began emptying my trunk so that I could get at the tire and tools needed to get the job done.

Cars buzz by me. A few beep sarcastically. I hear the horn saying “ha ha!” Darkness begins to settle in. It’s becoming a bit difficult to see. The tire is on the passenger side, thank God, away from all the traffic, but making it difficult to benefit from the headlights of passing cars.

Suddenly a car pulls off the road behind me. In the blinding light I see a male figure approaching me. “Hey, do you need any help?”

“Well, it certainly isn’t easy doing this with a white dress shirt and suit on,” I said. Then he steps into the light. I literally was frightened.

This young guy was dressed in black. Nearly everything imaginable was pierced and tattooed. His hair was cropped and poorly cut. He had leather bracelets with spikes on each wrist.

“How about I give you a hand?” he said.

“Well, I don’t know . . . I think I can . . . ”

“Come on, it will only take me a few minutes.” He took right over. While watching him I happened to look back at his car and noticed for the first time someone sitting in the passenger seat. That concerned me. I suddenly felt out numbered. Thoughts of car jackings or robberies flashed through my mind. I really just wanted to get this over and survive it. Then, without warning, it began to pour. The night sky had hidden the approaching clouds. It hit like a waterfall and made it impossible to finish the tire change.

“Look, my friend, just stop what you’re doing. I appreciate all your help. You better get going. I’ll finish after the rain stops,” I said.

“Let me help you put your stuff back in the trunk. It will get ruined,” he insisted. “Then get in my car. We’ll wait with you,” he insisted.

“No, really. I’ll take care of everything,” I said.

“You can’t get in your car with the jack up like that. It will fall. Come on. Get in,” he said as he grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the car. Crack! Boom! Lightning and thunder roared like a freight train. I literally jumped in his car. “Oh, God, protect me!” I thought to myself.

Wet and tired I settled into the back seat.

Suddenly a small frail voice came from the front seat of the car. “Are you all right?” she said as she turned around to face me.

“Yes, I am,” I replied with much relief seeing the old woman there. It must be his Mom.

“My name is Beatrice and this is my neighbor Jeff,” she said. “He insisted on stopping when he saw you struggling with the tire.”

“I am grateful for his help,” I said.

“Me, too!” she said with a laugh. “Jeff takes me to visit my husband. We had to place him in a nursing home and it’s about 30 minutes away from where we live. So, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we have a date.” She laughed and shook her head.

“We’re the remake of the Odd Couple,” Jeff said as he joined in laughing.

“Jeff, that’s incredible what you do for her. I would never have guessed, well, ah, you know I. . .” I stumbled with the words.

“I know. People who look like me don’t do nice things,” he said.

Silence. I really felt uncomfortable. I never believed that I judged people by the way they dressed. I was angry with myself for being so stupid.

“Jeff is a great kid. I’m not the only one he helps.  He’s a volunteer at our church. He also works with the kids in the learning center at the low income housing unit in our town,” said Beatrice.

“I’m a tutor” Jeff said quietly as he stared at my car.

Silence again played a part now in a moment of reflection rather than the uncomfortable feeling that I had insulted someone. He was right. What he wore on the outside was a reflection of the world as he saw it. What he wore on the inside was the spirit of giving, caring and loving the world he wanted to see.

The rain stopped and Jeff and I changed the tire. I tried to offer him money and of course, he refused it. As we shook hands I began to apologize for my stupidity.

He said, “I experience that same reaction often. I actually thought about changing the way I look. But then I saw this as an opportunity to make a point.

“So I’ll leave you with the same question I ask everyone who takes time to know me. If Jesus returned tomorrow and walked among us again, would you recognize Him by what He wore or by what He did?”

-Author Unknown

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12 comments

  1. GREAT STORY! We should look and treat each other just as JESUS would Treat All of us. Understand and LOVE each other as GOD SAYS we should, like HIM!

  2. The point of Helping others is the point we miss, We act like Pharisees in Jesus times that we know everything but misses to shown kindness and compassion. When a person comes to Christ, whatever he wears Jeans Tatoos, Ear rings etc is not an obligation, His heart is the point, However when he grows when the Christ and the Word of God enters in his life, He or She would remove things which offends others and is not a standard for those who are in Christian discpline. If we remove things to show off others it is again Hypocrasy, However not removing such things is a display of something severe issue of selfseekness and rebelling to the culure as there is no gain with being so. As what picture we see in the Bible, we see his culture and style was like a common Man. So if Jesus returned tomorrow and walked among us again, He would never be like “Nearly everything imaginable was pierced and tattooed. His hair was cropped and poorly cut. He had leather bracelets with spikes on each wrist.” He would be in normal dress. I had always liked your thoughts, as all was Biblical. We need to see what culture we display

  3. Chipandambira Charles

    What a way to start my day. I believe i will have a new way of looking at people, not the way they dress. For example i work at a university in Zimbabwe and boy the girls they dress as if they are prostitutes, but with what i have learnt today even if her looks deceive i should watch out for the heart and generally what is inside. Thank you

  4. Oh snap! Way to go with this awesome flat tire story. I couldn’t stop reading it! I thought of a young man at church who sounds like Jeff. Although I am cordial towards him and I embrace him, there are still those icky, sticky, stinking, thinking. I must say after reading this story I repented. Next time I embrace him, I will mean it!

  5. Oh, I am so guilty of judging people by the way they look and dress. I grew up in a home where we didn’t have much, but my Mom always made sure that our clothes were starched and ironed, no matter how tattered they were and she always reminded me that even though we were poor, we were to look good at all times. I see so many Christians now with tattoos and body piercing and I wonder why? Didn’t they thank God for the body that he gave them was good enough. After reading this story, I will try not to judge people by their looks.

  6. Lovely story. As much as looks can be deceitful, it is still good for you to follow your instincts. The most important thing is for one to have a positive mind set and open. God will guide your thoughts and direct your path.

  7. Roberto Priego Terreros

    That is a well known fact for church leadership…would they truly recognize Jesus at His coming? It usually, is the ones that you least expect it from that show by deeds the Love of God than the religious ones that do their deeds to be seen by men; rather than to glorify God. Luke10:25-37.

  8. Really awesome story, sometimes it happens, we recognise the people by the way they are dressed up. And foget to recognise the inner beauty.

  9. This is a great story, but it really leave me thinking on the question. I believe we would recognise Jesus by the things that he has done. But yet still the scripture stated that Jesus looks at the heart, in other
    words whatever the heart is saying, this should reflect on the outside.


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