My Take

Our good fortune in meeting Mr Luk

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 2:45am

If you blow a tyre in the middle of fast-moving traffic, there is no better place for that to happen than inside the Tai Lam Tunnel.

It's probably the safest, most convenient and hassle-free place in the world for a family with young children to suffer one of driving's worst headaches.

That's what happened to me on Sunday, on the first day of the Lunar New Year, the one day when nobody works across the city.

We take things for granted and complain about everything in Hong Kong, partly because it is mostly a well-run city operated by many quiet professionals and well-trained workers - people like Mr Luk and his colleagues at the tunnel.

I couldn't imagine what would have happened if I had blown the tyre before entering the tunnel or after exiting it.

My whole family would have been stranded on the side of a highway, a fairly dangerous place to be, and we would have found it almost impossible to find a tow truck without paying thousands of dollars, along with the obligatory red packets. I could, of course, change the tyre myself, something I have never done, like many mechanically challenged Hongkongers.

After the tyre blew, I managed to manoeuvre the car and stop on one side. Along the tunnel, there are many emergency shelters. Just go inside one; it's absolutely safe. In less than 10 minutes, an emergency tow truck with flashing lights turned up, driven by Mr Luk.

His colleague put out emergency light signals and waved other cars to change lanes. Mr Luk took a few minutes to hook up my car to his and invited my family to get into his vehicle. It must be the most spacious and cleanest tow truck in the world. Truth be told, his car is cleaner than mine.

Their duties would have ended once my car was pulled out of the tunnel. But Mr Luk and his colleagues helped me change the tyre, inspected the other tyres and helped inflate one of them.

They insisted on charging only the tow fee, at just HK$220. I was about to give everyone a big red packet but they all refused, saying it was against company policy. I doubt you will ever find more courteous and efficient mechanics and traffic controllers.

Hong Kong works because of people like Mr Luk and his colleagues.