What a great community

Visitors greeted with great hospitality while down on their luck in Vernon

I am writing to share with you a wonderful experience my wife and I had in Vernon last Friday. We had driven from Vancouver, and our first stop was to fill up at the Esso gas bar at the Village Green. Before we were out of the car, two nice young men with French accents informed us that unfortunately one of our tires was flat.

Then a delightful young lady came over and said she was sorry to see we were having a problem. Coming from the big city, I was touched by this unsolicited compassion.

I tried to jack up the car and get started on the tire change. Well, I’m 76 years old and everything is harder for me than it used to be, and it became apparent that tire changes now are not as simple as in the good old days. Extracting the jack from its hiding place in the trunk was almost impossible. Then no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t loosen even one wheel nut.

Seeing my predicament, a good Samaritan arrived with an industrial-sized tire wrench and a big heart. His name was Chris Hellyer and it turned out he’d lost his home and his business in the Fort McMurray fire last year, and he was trying to get a new start in Vernon, opening a business called Triton’s Hydrographics.

He had the flat tire off and the spare tire mounted in minutes. When I told him I would be driving home first thing next morning, he advised against highway driving on this particular spare tire. But it was 4 pm on a hot Friday afternoon and where would I be able to get the flat tire repaired? No problem, says my benefactor; his landlord has a tire repair shop.

So I followed him to OBC Automotive on 45th Avenue.

It turned out that OBC Automotive was about to close and furthermore they were swamped. But Steve and his crew repaired and mounted my flat tire anyway and gave me quick, friendly and excellent service….at a fraction of what it would cost in the big city.

So I just want to give a shout out to a few Vernon folks whose kindness and caring turned a difficult and stressful roadside situation into a pleasant adventure for my wife and me. Your town should be proud of its small-town hospitality.

Bob Ross