Recently I was heading home after my workout at the Siskey YMCA. I slowed down for a red light on Monroe Road just before Greenway Park Elementary. School was letting out, and a police officer was directing the school traffic.
As I waited at the light, I noticed the tire warning light appear on my dashboard. I took my foot off the brake, and as I slowly moved forward, I felt the wheel pull slightly to the left as I braked again. Now I knew I was getting a flat tire. My mind was racing about what my options were. I decided to try to make it home.
The light turned green, and I accelerated. I heard and felt that ominous flat-tire whomping. As I approached the police officer directing traffic, I noticed he was frantically waving his arms and shouting that I had a flat and to pull over. I waved back to acknowledge I already knew. After I passed Village Lake Drive, I knew I wasn’t going to make it home. I had to stop or risk destroying my tire rim, so I turned in the first entrance to the apartments on Monroe Road.
I started looking for my road service card and getting ready to call them when I noticed a white car pulling behind me. It was the CMPD officer who had been directing traffic. He came up to the window and offered to change my tire. I assured him that wouldn’t be necessary, but he insisted he could have it done long before a road service company could make it there.
This was on one of the hot days Charlotte experienced in November, and this police officer was offering to change my tire.
As he started getting the tire and jack out of my car, a crowd was gathering – lots of kids walking home from school with their moms. The kids enjoyed hanging out with the officer, and we all started chatting. I thought it was great that these kids got to witness a police officer demonstrating a wonderful act of kindness at a time when there is so much negativity in the news.
The officer said he was glad to help, and he hoped that if the same thing happened to his mom, that someone would help her. His mom certainly raised a wonderful son, and he was my angel that day.
Thank you, Dean Lauber, police officer extraordinaire. You really made my day, and now every time I think about it, I smile.
Patricia O’Neill, Charlotte