This isn’t exactly what my savior looked like, but pretty close.

This week, let’s give it up for Kentucky men, shall we? What a great bunch they are, don’t you think? Talk about knowing how to treat someone like a lady.

Take just a few minutes ago. A warning light turned on in my car indicating that I needed 1 psi of air in my passenger rear tire. Obviously, the first question this prompted was: What’s a psi? Second: How was I going to get 1 psi of air into my tire? And most importantly: How was I going to get 1 psi of air into my tire without screwing anything up?

I’ve seen those air hoses at the gas station hanging in a weary tangle on the wall. I’ve seen that my tire has a nozzle on it that should theoretically accommodate such a hose. However, the process of getting the air from the hose into the nozzle and thus into the tire, well, that just seemed overwhelming.

So of course I went to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts (now we have to sing: “O-O-O-O’Reilly’s! Autoparts”) because that’s where I go whenever anything is wrong and that’s the auto parts store I choose exclusively because of its catchy jingle. I breathlessly explained my problem and was patiently directed to Walmart, where they (who knew?) have a lube and tire place around back.

By now it had started to rain rather hard and, because of the errands I’d run before stopping at O’Reilly’s (“O-O-O-O’Reilly’s!”), my perfect puppy Fitzi had been crated at home for more than an hour. I also was extremely uninterested in getting my car fixed.

It was only visions of my tire blowing out on the road, my car careening off a cliff, my body breaking on impact and then my husband standing over my hospital bed asking why I hadn’t taken care of the 1 psi that finally made me turn left toward Walmart instead of right toward home. (Also, and this isn’t insignificant: a disastrous car accident would also mean substantial delay so Fitzi would most definitely poop in his crate and we’d be screwed for life in the potty training department.)

It continued to rain so hard it was like the sadness that is the entire month of February had decided to squeeze out in one tempestuous downpour. I parked at Walmart and ran to the customer entrance, tripping on bands of water that streamed down the pavement.

“I need 1 psi,” I stupidly explained to the man. I was now blinded by the rain coating my glasses, my hair was a disaster and I could already anticipate the shivery dampness that would accompany me for the rest of my day on account of my wet clothes.

But there was the Kentucky man. Non-judgmental. Patient. Happy to help. The kind of man who would never think of exiting an elevator before all the women had exited before him. The kind who anticipates opening a door for a lady even if she is coming in from the other side. And the kind of man who doesn’t hesitate to get wet in the rain.

The Walmart tire man didn’t falter for a second. He zipped up his jacket and we ran to my car. He scanned the warning message on my front dash and asked me to reverse my car toward the air hose, which I did. Then, while getting drenched, he put air in not one, but all four of my tires after assessing that they were all low according to factory standards.

Then, when it was all over, he refused payment. Wouldn’t take anything for it. Just told me to drive safely and have a nice day.

Happily, I am married to a Kentucky man and so am treated to this brand of kindness every day. But when a stranger treats you the same way, it makes you stop and think that we live in a pretty fantastic place.

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