I Didn’t Know Who Was Watching

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Tim Bayer

“I knew that I would get the car back on the road. What I did not know was that,  for this good deed, I would be closely watched by an unexpected observer.”—Tim Bayer

Won Over By Reality

By Tim Bayer

Teaching how to change a tire.

Teaching how to change a tire.

Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2020—Though there were a number of other vehicles in the turn-out, the two 20-somethings walked up to Emily and me: “We have a flat tire. Can you help us?”

I definitely would help! Like my dad, I had successfully helped stranded drivers a number of times. I knew that I would get the car back on the road. What I did not know was that, for this good deed, I would be closely watched by an unexpected observer.

As a child in the late 1960s, I was with my dad when he stopped his truck in a snow storm to attach a chain and pull a car out of a snow bank. In the summer heat, my dad pulled over and took time out of his day to change a flat tire for another stranded driver. That was what my dad did. Now, this is something I do. 

Rainbow on Going-to-the-Sun road at Glacier.

Rainbow on Going-to-the-Sun Road at Glacier National Park.

Fast forward from the 1960s in New York to 2018 in Montana. Emily and I were at Glacier National Park driving on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. A sunset storm was rolling through, and produced a rainbow in the valley below. We had stopped on a pull-out to take in the spectacular scene when Piper and Tara approached us about their flat tire.

“Have you changed a tire before?” I asked.

“No, I haven’t,” replied Piper. 

“Now is a great time to learn!” I said. “How about this: You get to change a tire and I will provide instruction and help you, if needed.”

Piper agreed.

This is the approach my dad took with me, and it is very effective because, 1) It accomplishes the task, and, 2) At the same time, the apprentice learns the skill because, as my dad would say, “It’s better to teach someone to fish than to give them fish.”

In Piper’s car was a medium-sized dog. The dog was unruffled while Piper opened the hatch, removed the contents to access the spare and started the steps as I taught her how to change a flat tire. The dog calmly supervised and closely monitored the entire process, like a proud father watching a child skillfully performing a learned task.

Finishing the tire change.

Finishing the tire change.

While Piper changed a tire for the first time, I asked where she was from.

“I’m from Grand Junction, Colorado,” was her reply.

“My nephew, Mike, lives in Grand Junction with his wife Amanda,” I said. “Amanda grew up in Grand Junction. Do you know Mike and Amanda Bayer?

“Wow, I know exactly who you’re talking about! They have a little son named Leo, correct?

“Yes!” I said.

“I grew up with Amanda and her two sisters. They live down the road from me, and I played softball with them. Also, their parents went to high school with my parents, so we have known them all of our lives. What a small world!”

Very cool! I’m in Glacier National Park, 2,000 miles from New York, helping stranded travelers only to discover they know my nephew and his son because they grew up in Colorado with his wife. I wondered if my dad had ever had such an entertaining motorist rescue story. I will never know, because my dad passed away in 1975, when I was 14, before I started doing my own stranded motorist rescues.

That coincidence makes this an entertaining story. But, what happened next caught me completely unprepared, and will forever fix this moment in my memory.

As Piper successfully completed her first flat tire repair, I again noticed that the dog in the car was still supervising the work.

The supervisor.

The supervisor.

“Your dog has been sitting calmly in the car just watching us,” I said.

“Yeah, he’s a great dog,” replied Piper.

“What’s his name?”

“That’s Walter,” said Piper.

The others were unaware of my backstory and therefore unaffected by this revelation. However, I was moved. Tears briefly blurred my vision when I learned who had been watching me. Stunned for an instant, and frozen in place, I was still able to speak.

I said, “My dad’s name was Walter.”

DemoGrid.com Disc Golf

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About Tim Bayer

Tim Bayer, Webmaster, and Assistant Editor of Weekly Hubris, was born and brought up in Webster, New York. He attended St. Bonaventure University, earning a BS in Computer Science, and then worked in the hi-tech world. In 2002 he turned his creative energies to product development and video production with the release of his first independently produced products. When the demand for web site design (TBayer.com) and freelance writing increased, he once again switched skill sets . . . to writing and web work. An avid or, to be more accurate, rabid, disc golfer, he may often be found chasing plastic while in pursuit of the perfect round on a disc golf course, or designing and developing disc golf products for Demogrid.com. He says he “tries to find the humor hidden in everyday experiences, because life is too important to be taken seriously.” (Author photo by Tim Bayer)
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10 Responses to I Didn’t Know Who Was Watching

  1. Avatar Mark Spede says:

    Beautiful!

  2. Avatar Diana says:

    Lovely story, Tim, and thanks for doing such a beautiful job with the layout for Nata’s menagerie.

  3. Avatar Tim Bayer says:

    Mark and Diana,
    Thank you for the complements.

  4. Avatar Mary Adams says:

    Tim you are an incredible writer. Thank you for sharing that story about your Dad. The whole thing leaves me speechless. Mary shared the link so I could get to know your Dad a little better through your eyes. I can not believe how much you look just like him. I also had no idea you had a computer science degree.

  5. Avatar Tim Bayer says:

    I appreciate your kind words. A number of people have commented how much I remind them of my dad. Even if people never met my dad, I always take it as a compliment.

  6. Avatar Irene says:

    Beautiful story. It seems like divine intervention was at play.

  7. Avatar Tim Bayer says:

    Thank you. The multiple conicidences was very cool. The other coincidence was that the day before the Going To The Sun road tire repair, Emily and I got a flat tire on the Matrix. As we pulled out of the rest stop where I repaired the flat, we had to wait for a truck to go by – it was a Les Schwab tire truck. That night we stayed in Biggs Junction, OR, then the following morning got a new tire at the the Les Schwab tire store in Goldendale, WA, that was right on the way to Glacier.

  8. Avatar Anita Sullivan says:

    Wow! What a story! Thanks for carrying on your dad’s generous habits!

  9. Avatar Diane says:

    This made me cry. Travel easy, Walter.

  10. Avatar Tim Bayer says:

    I am pleased to hear that you liked the story. I have another rescue story with an unexpected coincidence. One evening while digging out from a snow storm, my old, well used snow shovel broke. The following morning, I purchase a snow shovel on the drive to work. In the next town over, I came upon a car that had gotten stuck in the ridge of plowed snow where the parking lot met the road. Because I had a brand new shovel in my car, I was able to stop and dig out the car. As it happened, the driver was someone I knew from high school whom I had not seen for more than 20 years.

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