Sometimes, to get help in a big way, you only have to ask |

Sometimes, to get help in a big way, you only have to ask

Just about the time you think that all the good guys are gone something happens to prove you wrong.

As most of you know, my wife, Lynne, lives in Boulder in a nursing home. I visit her once a week, but the other six days she has a cadre of women from our church who help her out when I am not around.

Donna Dugan is one of her helpers.

Last Thursday, Lynne had arranged for Donna to take her to an appointment in Denver. Donna went to the nursing home and helped transfer Lynne into her specially equipped handicapped van.

As they were leaving Boulder, the right rear tire suddenly went flat. They were southbound on 28th Street at Arapahoe Avenue. Donna pulled onto Arapahoe and parked on the side of the road.

Donna does not have a cell phone, and Lynne forgot we have emergency road service insurance. So they became innovative. They decided they needed to find help where they could.

They were next to the Millennium Hotel, and they decided to see if anyone there could help.

Help is an understatement.

First of all, the front desk clerks immediately summoned Ken, Mike, Brando and Wayne, who are all bellmen. Wearing their white shirts and ties, they immediately went to the van to change the tire.

Then it got interesting. They could not find the tire iron. (No wonder. I found it in my garage in Breckenridge. A tad difficult to use in Boulder.) One went to his car to get his tire iron.

They jacked up the van and removed the lug nuts only to find the spare tire on the rear of the van had rusted to the rack. The bolts holding the tire in place were stuck on the rack and would not move.

Then along come Patrick and Richard, a couple of the famous Boulder “street people”, “homeless folk”, “panhandlers” and probably many other names they are known by locally.

Patrick and Richard did not take no for an answer when it came to frozen nuts on a tire rack. They took matters into their own hands and in a short time had removed the nuts and had the tire down and ready to be mounted.

In a matter of minutes, Lynne and Donna were off to their meeting in Denver.


Men have a hard time asking for directions, but these two women enlisted the help of several desk clerks, bellmen and two “homeless” knights in shining armor to solve their problem.

I would probably still be sitting there.

I think there are two points to this story.

No. 1, to get something, oftentimes you only have to ask. You have not because you ask not. If you never ask, you will never get some things. People are not falling all over themselves to find cars with flat tires that need to be changed.

No. 2, there are a bunch of very nice people out there either wandering our streets or all dressed up in white shirts and ties. There are thousands of opportunities to encounter angels on the streets of Boulder. People really do want to help. People are truly motivated to be a productive part of society if they are given the chance.

Lynne called me Thursday night to tell me this story. I think that my initial response was that it was a nice story and that was it. But as the days went by, the whole incident became larger than life. The characters became true heroes, and my wife and Donna truly impressed me (again) with their wisdom and courage.

And Boulder impressed me as a place of true caring and compassion.

Gary Lindstrom writes a column every Thursday in the Summit Daily News.

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