I headed off to a mid-morning meeting with barely a care in the world. I had a 15 minute drive and had left with 20 minutes to spare. I was passing the Texaco gas station at Barbican, when I thought about taking out some cash from an ATM. I turned into the station, saw no parking by the ATM but a space by the shop. I was at the wrong angle, but could turn in, with a little care. I headed to the spot, maneuvering past a gas pump. Then I heard a horrible grating sound on the passenger side of the car. I looked into the wing mirror and saw I was well clear of the pump. What had I hit? “Back up!” an attendant told me, so I did. I stopped and went to assess the damage. The side of the car had scraped against a concrete column set to protect the corners of the stand housing the pumps; it was in my blind spot. I pulled the car into the parking spot, looked at the damage again, and headed to the ATM. “It’s a company car?” another attendant asked; I told her no. “It can rub out, man, with compound.” I thanked her. The line of men outside the ATM joked that it could be an expensive visit. I smiled. A man came out and said “Worse now! The machine empty!” The next man went in, and confirmed; no cash to be had from this Scotiabank site. I walked back to the car. As I approached it, I saw a group of attendants looking at the area of the damage. “It’s fixed!” an attendant yelled, as he rose with a rag in his hand. I looked at the car and saw just the merest hint that it had been scraped. The car had been washed this morning, so the area was easy to see.

Damage barely visible

“I’m thankful, for that!” I told him. “It’s nothing, man,” and he went back into the shop. The other attendants went back to pumping gas.

As I’ve said often, many good people live in Jamaica, doing the right things and expecting little in return besides the chance to have that done to them in return.

I went on to my meeting, and relayed the brief story on arrival. I was content with that. But, I still needed the cash, and decided to pass by UWI on my way to do school pick-up, knowing that the Scotia branch there is usually quiet.

When I got there in the early afternoon, I found parking just by the ATM. I got out and asked the guard if the tellers were busy. He nodded and said the line was long, so I just went to the machines. I tried to take out what I wanted but the machine was only giving small amounts and in $500 bills, so I decided to withdraw from the teller. When I got inside I saw the ‘line’ was two deep 🙂 The manager was walking past and told him what the guard had said, and we both dropped into a big laugh. But, he told me that the branch was a cash-less one, so I still needed to use the ATM, but one gave bigger denominations, and the full limit. I headed out, and started withdrawals again. Done, I headed to my car, and was driving ahead, when the guard jumped in front of the car. “Stop!” I looked ahead and remembered that the road had spikes and I needed to reverse. I thanked him and backed out, then drove to school.

It was about a good hour before pick-up, so I caught up on messages, and had some light chatter with some of the school teachers and administrators. After about an hour, I went back out to wait for my daughter. Just before she arrived, a guard came to the car. “Your tyre looks like it needs air.” I got out; the tyre was flat. I went to get the spare, and started to take off the damaged tyre. I hoisted up the car on the jack and started to loosen the bolts. “Wait up, Mr. D! Let me help!” A driver I knew was stretching out his hand. He took the wrench from me and finished off removing the bolts. I got the spare out of the back. My daughter arrived, licking an ice cream. I explained what was happening. She happily went on licking. After a little playing with readjusting the jack and taking off and putting on types, we were good to go. I was sweating, but said I was glad this was not in the much colder air that is now in Washington DC. I thanked the driver and the guard and went to wash off my hands.

The school staff wondered how I had suddenly got sweaty; I explained. Cleaned up, I headed out and drove home.

They say bad things happen in threes, so I hope my three things–concerning the car–are done. I will try later to find the 24-hour tyre repairer and get my flat fixed.

Genuine kindness is all around. Don’t let it get swamped by more negative sentiments and actions.

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