Hey man! Can you spare a tire?


Jim Shinn tire #1

drop cap T

he old line was, “Hey man, can you spare a dime?”  a saying coming from the depression era or sometime way back.

I really did need a spare tire. It was the beginning of another “vacation from hell!” Did you know that many new cars DO NOT COME WITH A SPARE TIRE? Well, me neither, until I thrashed a tire at the Buckman Springs Rest Area, on our way to catch a flight in San Diego. We were scheduled to fly to Dallas at 11:00 a.m. and Attention Deficit me, hits a curb and ruins a tire. No problem…we have a spare and we have Triple AAA. Not! No spare! When I went to the trunk, there was no spare and our little tech book stated “If you don’t have a spare…” Well, I am thinking,”WHAT”! No spare! Who ever thought of a car with no spare! Kids, the times are a changin’.

I own a 2015 Hyundai Elantra and I have been very satisfied with product and service. I was very disappointed that the spare tire thing didn’t come up when I bought the car 18 months ago. That was their bad, but I am a forgiving sort. I am writing this tale of tire woe so you will go out and check your trunk, or even cooler, call where you bought your car to find out if you too are lacking in the tire department. This issue relates to new cars. I have a nephew, who is a Porsche mechanic, and many of their new cars lack a spare, and he has had some upset customers who like me, weren’t paying attention. I really believe they forgot, but no matter, I am forgiving of their forgetting.

So back to the nightmare on Interstate 8…The broken tire was my fault, but too little space for my stupidity. When I realized I was tire challenged, I called Triple A, who has been great for the last 40 years. Unfortunately, this time, the tow was not to Pine Valley, but to El Cajon, and Discount Tire on Broadway. Now for  “learning curve number 47”: My AAA tow just covers 7 miles, but I did have Hyundai Emergency Road Service, which is coverage for 20 miles of towing. I forgot about the towing, since the many times over the past decades, when I call AAA, they just PUT ON THE SPARE TIRE! Oh, well, again my bad. The tow cost me over $200 and the tires ran me over $600. God has blessed me with money so all that can be replaced.

Did I tell you God was faithful? When we called the tow truck, they said it would be an hour before they got to the rest area. So, how were we going to get to the airport? The tire fell apart about 7;45 a.m. and you are supposed to get to the airport early. At this point the lovely wife begins to cry. But wait! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s “Hitchhiker Man” to the rescue! Little did you know that the Rural Writer hitch-hiked all over the United States back in the 70’s! You buy the pie and coffee and I will tell you the story. I briefly comfort my wife and said “Relax, Jimbo will take care of this.” I go over to the parking area, and on my first cast, I hook Ralph, who is going to Ocean Beach, right past the airport. I humbly beg him for assistance, and within 15 minutes, we are on the road to San Diego.

Did I tell you God was faithful? Little did I know that my Promise Keeper friend, Mike King of Brole, was at Pine Valley, dropping of his grandson, Seth, to summer Bible camp. Seth was in my Sunday School class for a couple of years, and of course, God remembered that. Mike volunteers to wait on the tow truck, use his credit card to cover the tow, and all is good.

We got to our flight and had a very unfun vacation with the daughter in Texas. When we were on our way back to San Diego, we are excited about exiting the humid state of Texas, and our then flight gets delayed. Oh well, but my lovely wife (who has flying anxiety), is once again brought to tears.

We finally leave from Dallas on a 7:00 p.m. flight that was supposed to leave at 11:00 a.m. I could empathize. Cars break down….so do planes, but it is better to not fly, then stop flying in the air. Also, there are no tow trucks at 38,000 feet! I called Discount Tire and tell them we would be in San Diego about 8:00 p.m. I ask if they can leave my car in the parking lot, locked with the key under the mat. Sure, no problem.

Well we get there at 8:00 pm and you guessed it! No car….They forgot to leave the car out and it is locked up in the service bay. At this point, I am looking around on Broadway in El Cajon, Tuesday night, looking for hostages I can take. Thank God for the Holy Spirit. I take a deep breath and God says “You have a sister-in-law who lives in El Cajon…drop her a dime and borrow one of her cars.” We are obedient to the Spirit and we are soon on our way to sunny El Centro.

I got up at 4:30 a.m. and drove to El Cajon to take the sister’s car back and pick up my car when Discount Tire opens at 8:00 a.m. In my mind, I am preparing to physically, verbally and emotionally abuse “Aaron” or some other unsuspecting tire dude. Thankfully the Spirit once again intervenes, and I remember Brother James and his talk about the tongue. I am as cool as Jason Borne, when I share my disappointment with Aaron. He is very apologetic and gives me a brand new spare tire! God is good…all the time!

Jim shinn tire #2My new rim has now been ordered and will be here in two days. I will no longer be without tire. But how about you? You better go check if you are not too sure. My wife’s Nissan has one, but it was hidden so we weren’t sure. I hope your vacation goes better than ours. If there is a problem, at least it won’t be with the spare! By the way, you may want to make sure your spare has air!!!



  1. The story just got better!!! I got home from visiting a friend and a church in Palm Desert. There was an email from Hyundai that they are sending me a check for $216 to cover the towing charge. I love being and American!!!!!

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