I have always had bad luck when it comes to tires. I’m usually an optimistic person. I look for rainbows and wear rose-colored glasses (or so I’ve been told). But I have bad luck with tires. I purchase road hazard coverage, am a member of AAA, and carry my portable air compressor at all times.
Even as a teenager living at home, it was always the tires. I remember getting out of the car at the house and hearing a “hissing” sound, one that I would soon learn to associate with a forthcoming flat tire. Not only had I managed to get a nail in my tire, but I also managed to get nails in TWO tires. Indeed, this is the way.
I have many stories about tire troubles. Flat caused by a trailer hitch pin? Check. Bolt? Of course. Nail in the sidewall? Amateur. A jagged piece of metal? That’s easy. Fork? Oh yeah. Twelve-inch metal rod piercing the tire while driving 75 mph on the Interstate outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana? Absolutely!
However, I think the story that takes the top spot came this past December. The boys and I had traveled to the Dallas area to visit family. We were there in between Christmas and New Year’s. The morning we were supposed to check out of the hotel, I awoke around 7:00 am by hotel staff pounding on the door. By the time I realized what was happening, they had left. I quickly changed clothes and tried to catch them before they got on the elevator.
“We’ve been trying to reach you. The police were here.” This is where I had a mini panic moment. Why were the police there? What happened? Was everyone okay?
“Someone stole your tires. They’re gone.”
Blank stare from me. I’m sorry, what?
“Yeah. Around 4:30 this morning, someone came to the front desk and said they saw a car with tires missing. We called the police, and they came out. We tried calling your room and knocking on your door, but you didn’t answer.”
Huh? First of all, the phone in the room didn’t work. I found that out our first night there. Second, I guess we were all exhausted and out cold because none of us heard anything. Well, my youngest did wake me up and tell me he had a bad dream around 5:00 am, so maybe they woke him up just enough to make him think he’d had a nightmare? Eh, whatever.
Wait. Are my tires gone? Like, all of them? I need to see this.
“Oh, the police officer left his card. You’ll need to call him.” I went back to the room to let the boys know what was going on, or at least as much as I knew, and then went downstairs to survey the damage.
Y’all, my car (okay, it’s a huge Suburban) was up on blocks, in the hotel parking lot under a street lamp across from the hotel side entrance. I cannot make this up! Technically, the front of the car was up on blocks. They left my car jacked up, with blocks near the car’s rear, making me think they got spooked or interrupted. But all four tires and wheels were gone. Poof! No more.
I called the police department, and they said they would send an officer back out. I went inside for much-needed coffee. The staff was sympathetic. They offered to give me a late check out since I would probably need the time.
The officer that came out was the one that was initially there earlier that morning. He was charming and as helpful as possible, given the situation, but there wasn’t much he could do. The hotel had no surveillance cameras, which I have now learned to check for when booking a hotel! That part ticked me off. When I checked in, I had to “register” my car with them and put a little parking pass on my dash, which erroneously led me to believe they monitored the parking lot in some way. They do not.
I had taken a ton of pictures of the car already. The police officer gave me a case number to use when calling my insurance company, which I did next. The first person I talked to was nice enough, until she said “okay, someone should get back to you within 24 hours.”
Ha. No. I explained that we were not at home, that we were staying at a hotel in a different city, that we were supposed to check out that morning, I needed this handled immediately, and transfer me to someone who can help. I’ve been told I’m intimidating at times. They’re not wrong.
Anyway, I did get transferred to someone who said sure; you’re covered, send me the pics, I’ll send you the authorization to buy new tires. After that, all I had to do was send a picture of the receipt, and they would cut me a check. Easy peasy, right?
- I called the nearest location of my favorite tire chain, which I’ve used for years. I told them my story; they agreed it sucks. Yes, they have tires for my car in stock. I’ll need to get a towing company to bring it over because, of course, they don’t install on-site or tow vehicles. Perfect.
- I called a towing company that was recommended. Sorry, they can’t tow it without tires. See if the tire company has loaner tires.
- Call the tire company back. They don’t have loaner tires. They can’t help me. Call the tow company back and see if there’s another option.
- Tow company says nope. But, they know that the dealerships usually have loaner tires. I should call the Chevy dealer and see if they can help.
- Call the dealer. Sure! They have loaner tires. But wait, they may not have tires and wheels in stock for my car. Yes, they do, but it’s a different size so that the spare won’t work anymore. I DON’T CARE. I NEED THIS FIXED. Did I mention I’ve only had coffee and no food at this point, and it’s somewhere between 9 and 10 am, and I don’t know anymore?
- Sorry, I had to let that out.
- Call the tow company back. Good to go! They need to get loaner tires from the dealer, drive out to the hotel, put the tires on the car, load the car up on the tow truck, and then drive it to the dealer.
Ack. Really? Did it have to be that difficult? Apparently, yes. I get this all situated, then realize crap. I have three kids and a ton of stuff in the hotel room. Even though the hotel offered to let us stay an extra night, I wasn’t going to. I had no desire to stay there ever again. EVER.
I called up one of the family members that we had been visiting to see if he would be willing to pick up the boys and take them for some food since the hotel breakfast had already ended by this point. I was going to need to ride in the tow truck to the dealer to handle everything. He did, and side note – he learned how much my three boys could eat. He mentioned he would probably go broke if he had to feed them all the time. I laughed and laughed because it was funny and real.
I ride along with the tow truck driver and get the ball rolling on the new tires. They offer to have their courtesy car drop me off somewhere, maybe back to the hotel? My response, “I haven’t eaten all day. I need food. What is closest?” They rattle off what’s nearby, and I chose the waffle house, where I knew I could get more of that magic elixir – coffee. The driver even offered to take me other places, but nope. I wanted the Waffle House.
I’m sure I was quite a sight in that restaurant. I hadn’t showered—no makeup with slightly crazy hair. I had on the oversized fuzzy sweater that I don’t usually wear in public. When the waitress brought my food out, I am relatively sure I was shoveling it in like I hadn’t eaten in three days. At that point, I could only laugh at the situation.
To wrap it up, they picked me up and took me to the hotel, where I took a shower and felt a whole lot better. I made arrangements to stay at a family member’s house that night, so he picked me and all our stuff up. The car was finally ready around 5:00 pm, complete with locking lug nuts this time! Lesson learned.
The kids said the next morning when we woke up was, “do we still have tires?” and it’s become a running joke now whenever we travel. I’ve been told I handled the whole situation quite well. I don’t know about that, but it just had to be done. It was a memorable story, for sure.
Do you have a calamity that is always your “thing”? Do you routinely have plumbing issues or bad luck with garage doors? Both of those apply to me as well…but seriously, it’s always the tires!