At Your ServAIRce

I am here to help the neighborhood. Sure, I sell parts and work on cars, but there is more to my magic. I have an air compressor in the shop to inflate tires and also bike tires and sports balls, especially for the kids. My personal motto is “I am at your service.” It has given me a good reputation and I have benefited from it in terms of cold, hard cash. I don’t just help people to get money, but it seems to be the outcome. After all, I have to live. There are expenses to pay and inventory to buy.

There is no limit to the age of my “customers.” Let me tell you a story. One day, a small child came by with tears in his eyes. His bicycle wasn’t holding him on and he couldn’t ride. His mother wanted him to go to the corner store for an emergency item and he wasn’t able to oblige her. This made him very upset and he had to walk. That is the good old-fashioned mode of transportation short distances. As soon as he returned and gave his mother the purchase, he needed to visit a friend on the next block. He was in a panic not ever having a lack of access to his trusty bike. I don’t know how he knew of me, but he wandered in with the bike in tow. I immediately saw the problem. He had a flat. That was an easy fix. I got out the air compressor and took care of it. I never saw such a happy face. It took no time at all and he was on his way. He thanked me and shook my hand—so cute for one so young.

The next day he returned with a plate of cookies covered by aluminum foil. I guessed that his mother was also thankful and wanted to give me a token of her appreciation. I asked the small boy to sit down with me and watch me work. He seemed fascinated with all the contraptions in the garage. We shared the cookies and had a little chat. He told me about his family, school, friends, sports activities, and hobbies. He proclaimed that now that he had seen me work, a new one would be car parts. I was so flattered!

Soon more kids came by with various deflation problems from pool toys to balloons. There were more bikes and balls. I loved having them visit, each with a story to tell. They came alone or in pairs, sometimes with a brother or sister. Not usually with a parent as my place was a secret they wanted to keep from the adults. It was like having a hiding place, something that was all their own. Kids love secrets and hence they bury items in the yard or hide them in the garage. I gave each child that day a small auto part to start their collections.