So the most incredible thing happened today; I blew out my tire in the middle of nowhere! I say it was incredible because of how this thing took shape, how it resolved itself, and the good folks at Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing LLC of Ravenel South Carolina deserve my gold star for the day.
Rte 17 Jacksonboro South Carolina: So there is this barren stretch of single lane highway in South Carolina where I just so happened to roll over a rock or what have you. This place was not too far from the next place (I’d later find out) but had been some time since our last experience of “stuff.” Jacksonboro South Carolina is a little stretch of area between Hilton Head and Charleston which was where we were coming from and going to when we blew out our tire.
Blown Tires & Geico: This totally unmarked area of Rte 17 was where the blowout occurred. Granted it was the middle of the day so I probably could have “flagged” someone down if I had tried hard enough. Still, I didn’t think I’d needed to; I had the power of my auto insurer Geico on my side…right? Well after near well half an hour spent on the phone with three different operators underneath the hot mid-day June sun, I was no closer to understanding exactly where I was. The only thing I knew was my most recent experiences; we’d gone over a bridge, we’d passed two gas stations (Exxon: abandoned; Shell: open) and we were headed towards Charleston. That was all I could tell them; there was a “96” on the phone pole but literally as far as the eye could see in both directions, there were no discernable markings.
Geico & Verizon & Local Tire Services: So isn’t this the supposed “information age?” I mean, I don’t have GPS, OnStar, a Blackberry, iPhone, or any of that other junk, but isn’t that what I pay Geico for? At least my cell phone carrier, Verizon, should be able to find me, right? What if one or both my wife and I had been bleeding? Surely the 911 operators would have known exactly where we were; why can’t Verizon or Geico have these same systems in place for something potentially just as urgent as a blown tire? I mean, a hurricane wasn’t blowing through and it wasn’t the dark of night but surely any of these two could have been a possibility. And for that matter; shouldn’t a “local” garage be able to find us? I mean this stretch of Rte 17 only lasted about 5-7 miles; total. So couldn’t they have narrowed the search down for us a little better? Doing business in an efficient manner helps everyone; us, Geico, and the towing company.
An Hour’s Wait & Kenny’s Auto Repair: So after a half an hour on the phone with Geico, they sent someone out. “He’ll be there within the hour,” someone promised me. Frustrated and hot I hung up and stood eyeing all comers on the highway. This big red auto repair truck, Kenny’s Auto Repair rolled up and stopped. “So I guess I was a little off in my direction?” I queried. This large jovial black man smiled a big smile and told my wife and I “Well I had to go to another call but I told myself if they were still here when I came back I’d stop.”
Yes folks, that’s right; Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing from Ravenel South Carolina was not the tow truck sent to help us from Geico; he was just some really nice guy who was in between stops and did the unthinkable; he stopped and helped distressed motorists. When he saw our get up, he said it was probably a good thing that we didn’t try and change our own tire (our puny jack was not good for the program). This man took out his huge industrial sized jack, flipped off our blown tire, took our tiny spare and ratcheted it up good and tight. What literally took us two hours in coming was over in under five minutes.
Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing: Beating Back the Fear Factor: It was late on Saturday; “What if we can’t get it into a shop till Monday?” I queried. I had always been afraid of spare tire; the sheer fact that we had to drive back the rest of the 30 or 40 miles to the Charleston area had me a little apprehensive. I’d always heard that the spares were a death trap waiting to happen; Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing scoffed. “I wouldn’t worry about it,” he said, “They make these new doughnuts able to be driven on for a while.” Just the fact that this gentleman was calm about the whole thing made me calm; the truth of the matter is that too often when you get hooked up with a tow truck service they want to drag you right away into their auto shop and change the tire themselves.
Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing: Aftermath: I did end up taking the car in to the place where I’d gotten the insured tire and they did the job, but I had my own issues with Firestone. You can read that drama HERE. Still the one beacon of hope and optimism in this otherwise bleak situation goes to Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing out of Ravenel South Carolina. If you find yourself in need of towing or auto repair in or around Ravenel, I implore you to seek these guys out. If you’re on the side of the road somewhere, Kenny’s Auto Repair & Towing may even seek you out!