I would never guess looking in the mirror that the reflection I see is a face you could trust. Yet, repeatedly I find myself being approached by strangers of the female persuasion asking for help. On several occasions, little old ladies have stopped me in the hardware store to seek my advice. Just last year, while riding my bike, a college student flagged me down and managed to convince me to help her move furniture.
And then today, I found myself again helping a damsel in distress.
I was crossing a parking lot when I spotted the big SUV. It appeared to be jacked up on one side and was halfway in a parking spot. The engine was running and the door was open but there was no one inside. As I rounded the vehicle, I spotted the driver and the problem.
The driver was crouched down looking at the tire. She had her hands over her mouth in exasperation.
The tire had gone up over the curb and into a ditch. That was the good news. The bad news was the tank — I mean Lexus — was wedged just inches from the next vehicle on one side and a dumpster on the other.
“Do you need some help?” I naively inquired.
Her eyes lit up but her response was not in English. I took an accompanying head nod as affirmative. I began to walk behind the car to get in position to direct her but she stood up and pointed to the driver door.
“You want me to drive?” I asked.
Again, she shook her head.
I chuckled to myself but climbed up in the vehicle. I looked around to familiarize myself with the dashboard and surroundings, as you might do when renting a car. I noticed that the seat was already positioned at just the right length for me. This seemed peculiar, given my friend-in-need stood no more than 5 feet tall.
I tested the throttle to ensure I had a good sense of how this two-ton beast was going to react when I tried to get it moving. At that point, I also wondered: whose insurance covers this if something happens? This is not a question that comes up in Knight School.
Throwing caution to the wind, I pulled the shift into reverse and nudged the tire back up on the curb. This was one of those new fancy vehicles with radar detectors everywhere. And they just love to complain when you get too close to some immovable object. If the beeping wasn’t bad enough, my friend was visible in the rear view mirror, providing extra pointers, frantically waving her hands this way and that.
I went into zen mode to become one with the vehicle. With intense concentration, a steady hand on the shift and one on the steering wheel, an ever-so-gentle tap on the accelerator, some back-and-forth rockings to the tune of a hundred or so more warning beeps, I set the ship upright and properly moored in its berth.
As I got out, my friend said: “Oh thank you! You are a life-saver!”
“No problem,” I said. And as I walked away I wondered how it was that this was the only phrase she knew in English? And then it dawned on me. Perhaps that was why the driver’s seat was already set at the height of an average man. She has been here before and was waiting for the next chivalrous individual to happen by.
Oh, well, all in a day’s good deed. For what it’s worth, I charge extra for dragon slayings.