Last night, I experienced the most significant car trouble that has ever occurred while I was driving. As I and a couple friends were leaving the city of Rochester for home in our respective suburbs, I ran over a pothole that was quite large (it is Spring in a city which experiences incredible snowfall, so they are to be expected) and heard a thud and a "whooooosshhh". I stopped the car.
I hopped out of the driver's seat and inspected the vehicle. My front left tire had popped and I was now riding on the rim. No good. I turn off the car and switch into crisis mode. I've done this before, I think as I remember back to helping my father change the tire on the back of our minivan a year or so ago. The other guys in the car behind me (we had two cars, luckily) hop out to help. I grab the spare tire, jack and wrench from the trunk and begin the process. Loosen the bolts. Jack up the car. Take out the bolts. Replace the tire with the spare. Reattach the bolts. Put the car back on the ground. Tighten the bolts.
As we are working on the car, we realize that the car is not on flat terrain. The road upon which we've stopped is an incline. We jack up the car with incredible trepidation, with two guys on the lower end of the car, applying pressure to ensure that there are no issues with the car falling from the jack and ruining the axle.
All goes as planned and we lower the car. Once the car is on the ground, we notice that the spare is flat! Jeebus, this is annoying. Bereft of a pump or any other way of putting air into the tire, we're stuck. I finally cave and call AAA, only to find that I'm not on the plan and that "the plan covers [my father], not the vehicle." After about 15 minutes of calls (it's easily 12:15AM by this point), my father sorts it out and is able to convince AAA to add me to the plan. They give me a call and I'm (finally) able to request a tow truck. Whew, that was annoying.
All while I'm on the phone with AAA, I suggest to the other car that they head out (a couple of them had to wake up very early). They agree and go to leave, only to find that their car won't start. Now this is quite a turn of events. Two cars, out-of-commision on the highway very late at night — this is how horror films start.
As we're waiting for the tow truck to arrive, a friend and I are talking while keeping a look out. We see a tow truck drive by and we flag him down, but he's not the tow truck which was called for us. A kind-hearted guy, he agrees to help us out. He maneauvers his vehicle over to where my car was disabled and inspects the spare. He pumps it up and determines that it's not leaking! What joy! One car back to road-readiness.
The other tow truck arrives as we're working to blow up my tire and he jumps the other vehicle. All is well.
Couldn't have asked to deal with this with better people. Was so glad they were there to help. Thank my lucky stars.