Strange fruit: where I tell about a person who I don’t want to fix my tire

Once upon a time, there was a teacher.  This teacher was asked to do many, many things.  In her enthusiasm, she often (too often) said “Of course!”.  She learned eventually that she had to stop doing that.

In one such instance, she ended up with a student who could be considered, at the stage in which she worked with him, to be “difficult”.  The student regularly made inappropriate reference to one of the teacher’s family members in a surprisingly negative way and asked why his girlfriend couldn’t teach him the same thing as she was charged to teach.  The “difficult” student  sabotaged field trips, vandalizing bathrooms at local community centers and played video poker on his laptop in the classroom.  The teacher decided best to just get through the class she had to teach the young man, who seldom showed up anyway.  The administration neither helped nor expressed concern, which was the teacher’s biggest concern.

In the teacher’s heart, she wanted to believe that this young man was a bit like any one she had known when she was young.  That he would come out of it, that he would grow into a different person.  She really, really wanted to believe that, despite everything.

Several years later, the teacher had a tire on her vehicle that just kept going flat.  So, with her children buckled into their car seats, she pulled in to the nearest tire-fixing place.  She knew the young man worked there, and thought for a second.  “I don’t want him to fix my tire.  Not the tire that I am shuttling my kids around with,”  As she entered, she spoke with the lady behind the counter, also spotting her former student.

After some niceties and exchange of information, teacher/customer asks:

“How long will I need to wait?”

Nanci scurried the look at the sheet that would indicate how many were in line before.

In the meantime, another tire fixing gentleman who the teacher had seen in the parking lot said “Oh there aren’t many flats, it should be done quickly.

After several minutes of reading, the teacher approached the counter, with her former student gone, she wanted to verify her former student wasn’t touching her car.  The kids entertained by some coloring, she knew she had to not tax them to wait too long, but wasn’t sure how to be sure of who might be servicing the tire.

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Upon seeing the same worker that had spoken to her earlier, the one who promised a quick turn around she asked him rather point blank “Will YOU fix the tire?  I would like YOU to fix the tire,”

“Oh yeah, I’ll get to it, don’t worry you will be done in no time,

“No, it’s all good the teacher said I just want YOU to fix my tire,”

“Yeah I will be the one fixing it,”

Reassured and hoping she wasn’t sounding crazy, teacher resumed reading and in a few moments the tire fellow held up the keys as he walked through the door, here it is!

Introducing himself and proud to shake hands with the teacher/customer, introducing himself, he invited her to come back tomorrow to take a closer look at the tires.  Teacher realized a that point, oh, she might have made a new friend.

A strange day.

In this circumstance, what would you have done?  Would you put your confidence in a person who had repeatedly demonstrated strong disrespect to you and your family?  A point of forgiving and remembering…  Were you the teacher, what would you have done?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Jeff Denton says:

    I wish there were an easy way to impart the truth to young people that there is an unclearly defined age after which inappropriate behavior may be forgiven but is still remembered by the adults in their lives. And that, for better or worse, this behavior will define you to these adults who have the ability to either give you a hand up, or ignore you. Anyway – thoughtful blog post, buddy!

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