What I Learned After Getting My First Flat Tire on the Freeway in the Arizona Summer

In all of my years of driving, I have never had a flat tire before.

I’ve thought about this a lot. I would always ask my car person at the dealership how my tires looked and she would say, “Fine. Why do you always ask that?”.

Growing up in Arizona, you see cars pulled over on the side of the road all the time in the summer with blown up tires. I always worried about what I would do if that happened to me and I truly had no idea… until it did.

I was driving home from work on a busy freeway in the Arizona summer heat, (think 105-110 degrees outside) when I saw the car in front of me swerve weirdly and two cars behind me pull over. Within a second, I felt a thud. I thought, “I’m okay, I’m okay.” Until I realized my poor car wasn’t okay. Myself, along with two other cars, ran over something on the freeway and I had my first flat tire. I pulled over as fast as I could, unsure the damage of my car. I’ve thought about what I would do in this moment for a really long time and now that i was in it, I had to figure it out.

The first thing I did was call Triple A, who kindly informed me that help was on the way. Within a few minutes, while Triple A was finding the closest car to help me, a Highway Patrol Officer pulled over behind me. I weeped that I was on the phone with Triple A and he let me know that I hit a hitch in the middle of the road. He informed me that we were going to move my car to a safer location. He blocked one lane with his car so my car could pedal its way along to where the Highway Patrol Officer directed me.

The officer then spoke with Triple A for me, alerting them of my exact location and situation. Once he learned Triple A was only ten minutes away, he checked to make sure I was okay, offered me a bottle of water and then took off to another call.

Triple A called me twice while I was waiting, making sure I was still okay and asking if there were any changes in my situation. Within a few minutes, the heroes arrived and put on my spare tire. They also offered me a bottle of water once they finished, checked to make sure I was going to make it to my next destination safely, asked if there was anything else I could do and then we parted ways.

I had no idea how much a tire would cost for my car. I’ve never had to buy a new one before. I called my dealership, spoke with my girl who always assists me, who let me know how much my tire should cost. She didn’t have the exact one I needed in stock, but to come to the dealership if I had trouble at another tire place and she would take care of me.

I arrived at a local tire store where the friendly assistant examined my car. He said it would cost way more than the dealership said it should cost, so I thanked him and began to leave. A minute later, he came back and told me how much the tire would cost now, which was exactly the price I expected to pay. This could’ve been a honest mistake on his part, perhaps he was looking at the wrong tire, but I was satisfied in myself for knowing better.

After this whole event, I finally arrived at my family-friends house to relax in their pool and reflect on the day I had today. Now, I learned a lot of little things such as always make sure your Triple A card is active and know how much your tire should cost before blindly walking into a tire store.

I learned something a bit bigger though. Even though technically I was alone, I was never truly alone. I was blessed to have people who were checking on me and making sure I was safe. I’ve always believed there are good people in this world and I was fortunate enough to have all of them that day. Sure, these people were just doing their jobs but how lucky am I that these good people chose their career paths and happened to be on the road that day with me?

I also learned, even in situations where you may think to yourself, I have no idea what I would do in a situation like that, you are actually a lot more capable than you assume. I could have never painted a picture on what would happen if I ever had a flat tire on a busy freeway in the middle of Arizona summer, but I didn’t need to. I simply knew what to do. I knew how to take care of myself.

And at times where I got lost, God intervened and helped direct the Highway Patrol Officer to me and helped Triple A find a car that was only a few minutes away from me. You may not believe in God, perhaps you believe in the universe or Buddha or Keanu Reeves, but your beliefs will carry you through times like this. They will help you find peace and comfort at times when you’re alone and scared.

We all have situations we wish would never happen to us and well, I experienced one of mine.
In truth, you’re probably a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. I know now that I am.

But, I’m also not going out driving today. I’m good.