How My Nan Helped Me Change a Tyre

I’d like to share a story about how my Nan helped me change a tyre.

It’s a story that would otherwise go untold but I think it’s important to share, for it reminds us that there is magic in this world. It’s my Nan’s way of reminding me to keep my eyes and heart open, to never miss an opportunity to give and that I’m always guided if I only listen, and feel.

I took yesterday off work and drove down to the coast to surprise my Dad who was recovering from a standard procedure in hospital. Coincidentally, it gave me the opportunity to spend some time with Mum.

I’d forgotten, but the following day was the anniversary of my Nan’s birthday. She is my Mum’s Mum and she died seven years ago. Mum’s annual ritual is to head down to the beach with Dad and send her some flowers via the ocean currents. With Dad in hospital, I stepped in and shared this humble but meaningful gesture and it made my day.

I was grounded by this experience and felt connected somehow, to something. After a quick visit to Dad I headed home to the city. I was doing 110kph along the highway when I noticed a woman driving in front of me doing the same, with a flat driver’s side front tyre. Not ideal.

I pulled up beside her, got on the horn and gestured to pull over. Conveniently there was a just-wide-enough shoulder that she pulled into as I screeched to a halt in front of her.

The tyre change was not as quick; despite the fact oncoming semi-trailers hurtling past had my blood pumping and an epitaph of ‘he died changing a tyre’ flashing through my mind.

In fact, it took far too long to find out how to release the spare wheel. I was bashing away at an unfamiliar locking device when the driver came over with the owner’s manual.

Who knew you had to lower the spare tyre from beneath the rear seat inside the van via some bolt hidden under a latch? And who reads owners manuals anyway? I’m pleased she did, whilst it was frustrating and I’m not particularly patient something told me I had to see this one through.

Having followed the instructions, the spare was soon fitted and the relieved driver was very appreciative. We hadn’t talked much at this stage; it was hard to communicate over the roar of traffic and I was pretty keen to get out of harm’s way as soon a possible.

It was as she handed me some baby wipes to clean the grease off my hands that I noticed she had ‘volunteer’ embroidered on her polo shirt. I asked what she did.

She replied, “I’m on my way to pick up an elderly lady. I’m a volunteer driver and I pick up patients from their homes and take them to the hospital for treatment”.

I was worried she’d be late. She wasn’t, she was just happy to be back on the road.

It wasn’t until we’d shaken slightly greasy hands, waved goodbye and I was driving home that it dawned upon me.

My Nan — Edna May, died seven years ago.

She was killed in a car accident; the passenger of van that lost control.

She was a cancer patient being driven to the hospital for treatment at the time. The driver had a seizure and was swerving uncontrollably as she got out of her seat to help.

Today, on her birthday she got out of her seat again, and helped.

Just like she always did.