Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


The Tire Iron and the Tamale

By on November 3, 2016


I first read this story in the November 2016 issue of the American edition of Reader’s Digest features 21 True Life Stories of Kindness & Generosity and one in particular stands out.

Justin Horner tells of a time when he was stranded on the side of a road with a flat tire and no jack to change the tire. Cars drove past him for nearly three hours and just as he was getting ready to lose his faith in the human capacity of empathy, a Mexican family pulled over in their van.

The father who did not speak English enlisted the help of his daughter to serve as the interpreter. In addition to helping Justin change the tire of his rather large Jeep, the mother of the family had to go down the road to get a new tire iron when the first one broke under the weight of the SUV.

By the time, they were done with the car, Justin tried to pay the father $20 for his kind assistance. He declined this…but Justin persisted and gave it to the mother. As they were getting ready to part ways, they offered Justin a tamale because it was clear that he had not eaten. As he opened the foil that the tamale was wrapped in, he saw the $20. Just before they pulled off, the father said to Justin, “Today you, tomorrow me”

You can read the full story which originally appeared in the New York Times: The Tire Iron and the Tamale or watch the short film adaptation with the same title here.