Every so often, we just need to hit the pause button and reflect on life’s journey, taking time to appreciate each passing moment and the people in our lives. I know I am after a recent happening just days shy of my 27th birthday.
I feel like doing so is a necessity from time to time, to keep from going stir crazy in a world that seems to be driving us toward just that. In the wake of transitioning from The Leader in Houston to the Fort Bend Star, it’s not something I’ve done nearly enough. But that recent happening, despite its simplicity, served to remind me just how precious the good people in your life are – and to not let them ever forget how much they mean to you.
I have to brag on one of my best friends, Taylor, this week, because he reminded me just how rare truly kind-hearted and giving people are in this world, and why he’s one of the best friends I have.
Last Monday around 7 p.m., I shut down the lights and locked the door at the Star office. Last week’s edition of the paper was laid out, so it was time to hop in the car, throw on some tunes and gradually unwind from the grind of another week’s work.
But, as often happens, life had other plans. And in a way, I’m glad it did.
As I made my way down Highway 90 toward the Grand Parkway toll road for my nightly trek back to Katy, something with the car just felt … off. I couldn’t explain it, just a sixth sense type of thing.
Not long after, I discovered something was in fact amiss. My 2017 Toyota Camry XLE, with all its fancy gadgets and sensors, gives you the option to have a display screen telling you how much air pressure is in each tire. And in my constant paranoia – which perhaps comes with passing age – I always have that display on in front of my eyes.
And on it, I saw the passenger-side rear tire pressure had dropped from a standard 34 down to 29 faster than a Justin Verlander heater. Cue the heart dropping. Then, to 28, 27 and 26 … you get the picture. I started booking it for the next available exit and wound up pulling my now three-wheel vehicle into the parking lot of a shopping center in Richmond near Mason Road and West Bellfort Street.
Now, changing the tire isn’t the issue; that’s a rite of passage most adults have undertaken in their lives. No, the race was now against the dark of night quickly descending. When I change a tire, it takes a bit of time – and changing a flat in the impending darkness, in a dimly lit parking lot, is not a winning proposition.
So, after a lengthy internal debate, I texted my friend, who works as a manager at a Discount Tire and I knew could change a tire in five minutes while making sure I didn’t screw anything up in my haste to complete the task at hand. It was a massive ask – he had just gotten home from working a 12-hour shift. He would’ve had every right to tell me to ask somebody else. I would’ve completely understood.
But he immediately jumped in his truck and drove 20 minutes from our place in Katy out to Richmond. He helped me make sure everything was in order and followed me another 20 minutes back to our place to make sure nothing cropped up. All without hesitation.
The next morning – on his one day off per week – he got up early and met his manager at the shop to fix the tire and fill it up so I wouldn’t have to enlist a chauffeur to work in Stafford the next four days. It was a simple act of kindness, one that’s innate and that he’s exuded every day of the 11 years I’ve known him.
But it meant more than he’ll ever know, despite its simplicity. It reminded me just how blessed I am to have formed the type of friendship that will stand the test of time. It’s a much-needed reminder to not take the people in your circle for granted – which I’ve done far more often than I have time or print space to explain.
Tell people how much they mean to you. It may seem weird, or out of place – but I believe every person we’ve crossed paths with is meant to be either a blessing or a lesson. So take advantage of the blessings.
Who knew a flat tire could be so powerful?