John and daughter Marie 1987
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Printed in
L.I. Journal
weekly column that John wrote

A Good Samaritan On The Highway

You just can't tell about people. The word "prejudice" should probabaly be re-defined as "misconception" For example, here's a completely  true story about how I spent Monday morning.
I was on my way home from Glen Cove (where a lady I'm sweet on lives) and was cheerfully driving towards the Meadowbrook Parkway on the Northern State. As I approached the exit ramp I heard the all-too-familiar sound which announces a flat tire. I pulled off to the right shoulder, stopped the car, and there was a rubber pancake which used to be my right front tire.
I said a few words one cannot ever say on television, and prepared to change the tire. As luck would have it, I had no spare tire.
I left a note on the car and started walking towards a service station. Half a mile "down" the road (this exit ramp was on a mountain) I came upon a gas station, with plenty of tires to sell.
I had no idea what size tire I needed, so I climbed back up the mountain to the car, copied the pertinent information from a tire into my journalist's notebook and hiked back to the tire salesman.
he searched for the correct tire, and I dutifully telephoned my employer to announce that I would be in to work "eventually",, After some minutes which passed like hours, the station attendant emerged from the rear of his shop with a tire. He put it on a rim, charged me more that I had in cash, let me go for the $9 less than he wanted and watched me hike back up to my car, lugging my tire alongside me.
I need one more thing to fix my car - a lug wrench. No problem, I figured someone would stop to help soon, and I'd be back on my way to the Journal in half hour. I stood several feet behind my car, raised a hand in the air and expected a car to stop for me right away.
After a while my arm got tired. I switched arms until the other one was tired, too. My arms soon felt like lead weights, and I disgustedly returned to my car. I sat on the trunk, put my head down, and sank into a deep depression.

Here I was, a good person, the kind of guy who always stops for a person in need, a regulation "Good Samaritan," and the one time I needed a hand everybody was passing me by.

I began to notice the cars that drove  past me. Most were driven by people who would get a good look at me, and then accelerate onto the Meadowbrook.

Finally, someone stopped. He was a rabbi -and offered his assistance. Unfortunately, he didn't have the right size tool. We wished each other mitzvah, and went our separate ways.

Having a member of the clergy try to help bolstered my spirits some. I figured it was a sign from above that help was coming, and I should be patient. I was patient a long time. Long enough to see several hundred cars drive by. I smiled and waved. They drove by.

Once in a while I noticed the bumper stickers on the cars which were passing me by. A few volunteer fire fighters drove by. That upset me. Thought they volunteered because they like to help people. Guess not. A lot of "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper stickers  went by too.
A last a very nice man stopped by. He jumped out of his station wagon and extended his hand, saying "Hello, son can I help you?"

As it turned out I needed a lot of help. The lug nuts were so tight that changing the tire became a two-an job. We did it in about an hour, exchanged pleasantries, and parted company.

During the repair work, I noticed two things about this friendly stranger. First of all, he had "National Rifle Association" bumper stickers all over his car, and half dozen rifles in the rear of the wagon. I also noticed from the racks of clothing hanging in his back seat that this man made a living as a salesman.

If there are any two groups of people I'm totally prejudiced against it's gun owners and salespeople. I find members of both groups offensive, unintelligent, abusive and generally aggravating. And here I was being helped by one man who represented both groups.

Prejudice is stupid. You just can't tell about people.