After working for 5 days on 12 hour shift, I earned my day off yesterday. On normal working days, I take a direct bus to work. Within 40 mins, I’d usually arrive at my work place via bus. It’s convenient, safe and comfortable. It costs me only $1.05 per trip. Only on my off day, I’d ride my 10 yr old Honda Wave around.
When I walked to the nearby carpark to retrieve my bike, the front tyre gone completely flat. This is the 2nd time it happened. On my last off day, the same happened. I had to push the bike all the way to the nearby petrol kiosk to pump air. It was up gradient all the way to the petrol kiosk few hundred metres away.
I checked for any nail or damage on the front wheel which I had changed only last week. The brand new tyre was flawless with no trace of embedded nail. It must be the nipple I thought to myself. I’d have it fixed later after running some errands.
Other than the normal shopping trips to town such as Sim Lim Sq, Bugis area, Beach Rd Golden Mile etc, I usually go round the island on my old trusty economical bike to pick up items from sellers or off load items to buyers which I’ve pre-arranged with sellers or buyers on Carousell over the past few days. But that’s another blog another time.
I planned my route carefully for all my errands with the last stop at Defu Lane to fix my front tyre issue before heading home. I left home around 10.30 am and by the time I arrived at the bike workshop in Defu Lane it’s around 3pm; having done many trips on my bike. It wouldn’t be possible if I had to rely on public transport to do all my errands. With my bike I could zip around the island.
When I reached the workshop, lo and behold, I saw a young little pretty lady amongst the 4 or 5 seasoned mechanics either serving or repairing bikes in the crowded busy premises. After I explained to the shop owner my tyre problem, he directed me to that little girl (presumably his daughter). Once he sprayed some soap water on the tyre nipple with bubbles bursting about; it confirmed our suspicion.
I’ve serviced my bike over the last 30 yrs at so many countless workshops but I’ve yet to come across any young lady mechanic. When I watched her dismantling the front tyre, taking it to the machine to pry open the tyre until she replaced the nipple with a new one on the rim, I was impressed by her singular tenacity in getting the job done.
Most of us will not care for a mechanic job even if it pays well cuz you must be prepared to get your hands especially your fingernails perennially blackened. You could imagine how I felt when I witnessed this young lady barely 16 yr or 18 yrs old doing the dirty black-oil stained job of a seasoned mechanic. It’s tough and back breaking job with lots of bending and squatting in this job where few youngsters will take up, let alone a young fragile lady with an angelic face.
I noticed that those old uncle mechanics around our cute little lady were ever ready to assist when she needed strength to lift the rim with tyre around. The boss – presumably her father – spoke to her in such tender soft tone when giving instruction to her on how to go about getting the job done. Needless to say, one could see the proud father’s loving, touching feeling towards her. How he wished that she were a boy instead.
The boss charged me $15 for the thirty mins replacement of the tyre nipple. That lady at the congested space wanted to push my bike out. I straightaway told her I’d do it myself instead. I thanked her profusely for the job well done. She was beaming with joy seeing the satisfied customer in me before moving on to the next waiting customer.