|On Thursday afternoon (2018-08-23) I pulled into the parking lot of the Pilot Travel Center just off IH-40 Exit 161 at 3300 Highway 391, North Little Rock, AR 72117. After going inside to purchase food for dinner I returned to my Fleetwood Tioga RV - a 24ft Class C motorhome and Ford E350 conversion - and noticed my outer left rear tire was flat (which explains a whining I was hearing before I pulled in). The tire would not hold air from my portable compressor, so I sought roadside assistance.
I began by calling AAA Texas Premier RV Roadside & Battery Service at 800-222-4357. The Customer Service Rep (CSR) answering my call took my information and said their local contractor would be arriving or contacting me shortly. About 30 minutes later a polite young man from East End Towing arrived. He looked at my tire then confessed to me that he did not know how to change it. I suggested he call for assistance. He did - and told me no one from East End Towing was coming to help him. We then mutually agreed that I should call AAA and request another contractor, and the young man politely waited while I did so.
It took several tries to reach a human being at AAA this time, but finally a male CSR took my details, said he could not help someone with a 7X6 area code cellphone, and threw me back in the queue. After a few minutes a female CSR picked up, and I told her the East End Towing rep was there but recommended we get another contractor to change my tire. She said she would "inform dispatch" and they would take care of me.
The polite young man from East End Towing left, and about 30 minutes later another service rep arrived. But he wasn't from another contractor, because despite my report AAA sent another East End Towing rep. This man was older, obviously agitated and referred to his younger associate as a dumb**s, but said he'd take care of me. I then watched him fiddle around with the tire for a few minutes before he began asking me questions that made it clear he did not know how to remove the hubcap. At that point I told him I did not trust him to change the tire and suggested he leave - which he did in a huff.
Once again I called AAA Texas, informed them what had happened, and demanded they send a contractor other than East End Towing. I eventually ended up speaking with the dispatcher himself - a Joe Slick type who told me that since I had "refused" the two East End Towing reps he'd sent that there wasn't much else he could/would do to help me. I heatedly told him to correct his records because I had not "refused" help from East End Towing, they just weren't qualified to give me any. So much for AAA Texas...
My next call was to Good Sam Roadside Assistance at 800-586-7400. In short order a polite female CSR took my details and said she'd send someone right away. A few minutes later she called back, identified herself as being with Allstate but representing Good Sam, and told me their primary contractor for the area - East End Towing - had already sent two reps and refused to send any more. I then told her what had happened earlier. She said she'd try to find someone else but could not guarantee anything. I asked her to make sure whoever she sent at least knew how to take a hubcap off, and she said she understood.
Unlike her counterparts at AAA Texas, the Good Sam (Allstate) CSR went the extra mile and found an alternative contractor for me - Southern Tire Mart. Within 45 minutes their rep Jeff H. arrived on the scene and asked me to follow him to their location - which was only a few hundred yards away at 12100 E Valentine Rd, North Little Rock, AR 72117. There he turned his service truck floodlights on the left side of my RV and went to work.
This was obviously not Jeff's first rodeo: Within minutes he had my RV jacked up and the hubcap and wheel off. He identified the problem as a busted valve stem rather than a flat tire, replaced it with a new one and then popped the tire back on. He took care with my valve extensions and made sure everything was aligned and tight. Start to finish he took less than 20 minutes, and my tire was good as new.
I thank Jeff H. and Southern Tire Mart for a job well done, and I am grateful to the Good Sam (Allstate) customer service representative who took the time to find them for me. As for AAA Texas, I recommend they teach their staff to think beyond their screens and scripts - and find a competent roadside service provider to replace East End Towing.