I am leaving the small town of Hooton, my five-year-old daughter asleep on the back seat. Barely five yards from the last gas station for seven miles according to the sign, my right front tyre blew. Managing to keep the car on the road, I pulled over. Cathy remained asleep. Not the best way to end a great day visiting bookshops and a candle making museum.
After kicking the tyre in frustration, I looked up to see a young man walking towards me. Tipping his hat, he asked, ‘Can I help you, mam?
If you have a spare, I will gladly change it for you…’
Knowing I could not, I accepted his offer. He said his name was Dave and he worked in Floyds garage, the last one for seven miles.
Tyre changed, I was good to go and offered to pay for his time.
‘No thank you, Mam.’
I had never been called mam before and found it quite quaint. Before I could say more, he walked away towards the garage.
I sat thinking I couldn’t leave it like that.
Cathy still asleep, I decided to turn around and offer the young man lunch. I needed a coffee and Cathy must be getting hungry by now.
Pulling up to the first pump to fill my tank this time, I carried Cathy inside to pay, asking if I could speak to Dave.
The man looked at me as if I had sworn at him. ‘How do you know Dave?’
I explained about the young man who had called me mam.
‘That sounds like Dave all right, always dreaming of going to the rodeo one day, liked to think himself a bit of a cowboy.’
He pointed to photos of his employees on the wall behind him. ‘Is this the young man who changed your tyre?’
‘Yes, it is. I would like to take him to lunch to say thank you, as he wouldn’t accept any money.’
‘I’m afraid you can’t do that, mam. Dave died last year, right about the spot your tyre blew.’
Did a ghost really change my tyre?