The Good Deed

One Saturday evening, many years ago, I was hanging out at home. It was a couple of hours after dinnertime, and I was relaxing. Then my phone rang.

It was a good friend of mine. A mutual friend of ours had gotten a flat tire, and he was helping her out. However, he had to go to work soon and was wondering if I could take over. I said “sure” and hopped in my car.

She was in the parking lot of a Starbucks. I don’t recall exactly where my friend was in the process of changing her tire, but there was some sort of complication…I think maybe her spare tire was also flat. I do remember that we had to take the car over to the gas station nearby to fill up a tire. In any case, we did eventually get the tire changed, but it took much longer than it should have. Changing a tire is usually like a 10-minute job, but for reasons that are lost to the mists of time this was more like an hour.

We then drove to Wal*Mart to try and get her a new tire, since that was the only place that sold tires that was open. But while the store itself was open, their tire center was not.

Finally, we decided that she would just drive home on the spare and would get a new tire the next day. Being the gentleman that I am, I offered to follow her home to make sure she got back OK.

I followed her home, and she did in fact get back home. It was getting pretty late at that point, so I was ready to book it back home myself.

As I was driving down a dark stretch of road, I saw something odd out of the corner of my eye. As I slowed to see what it was, a deer jumped out of the woods and directly in front of my car.

I managed to swerve, but didn’t quite swerve far enough. Instead of a head-on collision, it was a glancing blow off the passenger-side fender. The deer survived, at least long enough to bound off back into the woods, and I pulled into a nearby apartment complex to assess the damage.

Thankfully, it was mostly cosmetic. I lost a parking light, and, most annoyingly, my bumper cover had cracked and fallen off.

To be accurate, the plastic cover had only fallen off the passenger side. I obviously couldn’t drive home with it dragging on the ground, but although was clearly a write-off, I didn’t want to just leave it lying there.

Fortunately, I try to be prepared for emergencies. One item in the bag of tricks I keep in my trunk is a length of parachute cord. I cut myself off a little bit, and used the cord to tie my bumper back on. I thought back to my days in Boy Scouts when I complained about having all the different knots drilled into my brain until I could tie them in my sleep. My Scoutmaster told me that one day I’d be in an emergency situation and I’d be glad my hands could tie the knots on their own. I was always skeptical.

After saying a silent apology to my Scoutmaster, I tied a tautline hitch to hold the bumper on and got back in my car. The jury-rigged solution made it all the way home.

I was able to get the car repaired quite cheaply, thanks mostly to the fact that my swerve meant no metal bits of the car got mangled. I tried really hard to not let my friend find out that I’d hit a deer on the way home, but she ended up hearing about it. I just didn’t want her to feel bad, since I knew in her shoes I’d feel quite guilty. Fortunately she took it all in stride.

I can’t really blame this one on Ford, but it’s just one more item in the long list of woes which befell that car.

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