Marana resident Beverly Hall needed no reminder that David, her husband of 34 years, had passed away two weeks prior.
Unfortunately, that’s what she got from one unfriendly individual.
Two years ago, after returning to Tucson from her husband’s funeral in Illinois – from where the couple originates – Hall was driving along Thornydale Road when she was flagged down by another driver.
She had a flat tire.
The then 70-year-old had never dealt with car troubles on her own. She was in a panic, and was unsure what to do.
She slowed into a Circle K.
“I pulled up, right up to the air pump, and I realized I had no idea how to put air in a tire,” said Hall.
Fortunately, or so she thought, there was a man who was just finishing using the pump.
Hall politely asked the man for help.
His response brought her to tears.
“He sneered at me and said, ‘What’s the matter lady, don’t you have a husband who can do that for you?’” said Hall.
Hall informed the man her husband had died just two weeks before.
The man begrudgingly helped her put air in the tire, and upon finishing, left without a word.
But the re-inflated tire didn’t fix what was really on Hall’s mind. She thought about how people can be cruel, that her husband and best friend was gone, and that she was feeling extremely vulnerable.
“I came home and sat on the sofa and cried for two hours,” said Hall.
But Hall, who says her faith keeps her going, eventually found strength.
“I told myself I had some choices, that I could sit on the sofa and cry a lot, or that I could do something about it,” she said.
Hall knew she couldn’t bring her husband back, nor could she control the behavior of others, but she could fix how vulnerable she felt.
So she wrote a letter to Rick Furrier, son of Jack Furrier, who owns the popular automotive repair chain in Tucson. In it, she told Furrier her story and asked if he could help by developing a car-care clinic to educate women.
It only took a few days for Hall to hear back.
“When I got Beverly’s letter – as soon as I read it, I said that’s a great idea,” said Furrier.
Furrier had run a similar program in the past, and was hoping to start it again one day.
“That was the kick in the butt I really needed,” said Furrier, who trains participants. “I’ve told Beverly this before, but she gave me the motivation to get up and get going on it.”
The clinic focuses largely on educating women of the red flags that can arise when dealing with automotive repair shops.
Warning signs include pushy service, scare tactics, unexpected maintenance items, and extremely high prices.
“If you feel like you’re being scared into something, that’s a good place to stop, and don’t do anything,” said Furrier.
The clinic also teaches basic maintenance, such as how to check tire pressure and fluid levels.
“One of the problems is that a lot of times people aren’t informed about cars, and when something comes up, they don’t know what to do,” said Furrier.
Hall and Furrier hope the clinic will not only offer that education, but prevent women, and especially widows, from being taken advantage of by repair shops.
“When you become a widow,” Hall said, pausing to fight back tears, “It’s very devastating and painful, and it’s worse when you feel vulnerable. This gives me so much pleasure, because I know I’m helping someone. I’ve had people come up to me and say they were frightened if something had happened to their car, and now they have confidence.”
As a regular volunteer at Interfaith Community Services and Resurrection Lutheran Church, helping people is one of the things that gets Hall by. The Women’s Car Care Clinic is just another example of that.
“It’s been a very rewarding experience for me personally,” said Hall. “Every year, 12 million women join that club that nobody wants to belong to – widows. With faith, keeping busy, and doing things for other people, you’ll survive it.”
While Hall still copes with the uncertainties from the loss of her husband, one thing is for sure - if she ever sees someone who needs help putting air in a tire, she will gladly offer a helping hand.
The next car clinic will be held at Resurrection Lutheran Church, 11575 N. First Ave., on May 16, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The event is free, but registration is required to attend. Register by calling 748-1700 ext. 100.
Car Care Clinic
What: Car Clinic for women hosted by Jack Furrier Western Tire Center
When: May 16, from 1:30 p.m.
to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Resurrection Lutheran Church, 11575 N. First Ave.
RSVP: While it is a free clinic, space is limited. RSVP by calling 748-1700, ext. 100.