Friday, November 09, 2007

No good turn...

So I was motoring on N.J.'s Garden State Parkway, heading northbound, somewhere up near mile marker 117. The road was clear, and I was looking forward to getting home on schedule.

And then I saw a silver BMW on the shoulder, with a flat on the left rear tire. And as I passed I saw a young woman trying to crack a lug-nut.

And I debated, quickly: the chauvinistic pig in me said I should pull over. But the tired, aching part of me (I did have a work out last night) reminded me I did leave the office late, and I was looking forward to get home (and who could forget yesterday's commute?).

Then I noticed the window was getting wet from a light shower.

So I pulled over.

I've changed a few dozen tires in my day, but this was my first BMW.

She was relieved. The tire had more steel belts on the outside of the tire than inside. She explained that she had been there about a half-hour, couldn't figure out the jack, and - worse, yet - couldn't even budge a lug-nut.

She introduced herself as Amy, and was heading to her home in West Point, in her sister's car. I sensed there was a story in there, but I declined pressing for it.

The lugs were frozen; I had to stand on the wrench to break them, and it was obvious this lithe gal would never have found the leverage or mass to budge turn them. BMWs, it turns out, have lug-bolts and not the more commonly found lug-nuts. This mattered only after I had to mount the spare: usually you hang the tire on the bolts and simply spin on a lug-nut or two before tightening. This was a balancing act to get one of the of lug-bolts threaded. There has to be an easy way to do this, but I didn't find it.

5 minutes later, the jack was down and the spare looked very low on air. So I led to the Cheesequake rest area and topped off her tire at the gas station.

Amy was grateful, and wanted my address to thank me in some way. I told her to be careful and headed on my way, knowing I had done my Boy Scout Good Turn of the Day.

A pity the traffic came to a stand still as I got back on the Parkway. That 25 minute detour cost me another 45 minutes in traffic.

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished!



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