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From Quebec to Alberta: One Couple’s Unexpected Cross-Canada Kal Tire Tour

The first five times Rita Lyster drove across Canada, she never had a single problem. The sixth time, this summer, was a much different story.

Her road trip from Montreal, Que. to Barrhead, Alta., began as it always did: with excitement about seeing some of the serene and less-traveled corners of Canada. While she and her husband, Steve, would cross the same five provinces, this year’s journey would draw her toward new people and places: not just one, two or three but four Kal Tire locations as well as a handful of outstanding team members.

Just outside North Bay, Ontario, Rita’s truck began to pull a little to the side, and then she heard the telltaleflap, flap flap of a flat tire. Fortunately, the Lysters found out there was a Kal Tire store just two blocks away. There she met Kim Lee Hamelin, whose team had her back on the road in 35 minutes with a free flat repairas part of Kal Tire’s Customer Care Plan.

The Lysters made their way back to the Trans Canada Highway. The next day, she stopped in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. to have the wheels on her new tire torqued. Second province, second Kal Tire store.

In the middle leg of her road trip, on the highway just outside Winnipeg, Rita got the feeling something was wrong with another tire. She pulled over and discovered she was right. A chunk of steel had lodged itself in the tread of one of her tires. Out came the phone and the CAA roadside assistance number she was starting to memorize.

While they waited and cursed their luck, a van pulled up behind. Two men got out. One said, “Do you need any help?”

Rita and Steve explained about the chunk of steel.

“My name’s Aman,” said one of the men. “I work at Kal Tire. The Brookside Boulevard store. I’ll take a look.”

Aman tried to remove the spare on his own, but with the proper tools at the store and the tow truck inching toward them, they all opted to just deliver the Lyster’s truck to the store. Third province, third Kal Tire store.

Aman followed to the store and then offered to drive the Lysters to a nearby hotel where they’d book rooms for the night. His was the first face they saw the next morning when they arrived at Brookside Boulevard.

The Lysters decided to invest in a set of four new tires to put them in good stead for the rest of their journey. Two hours later, they were on the road again.

Now in the thick of the Prairies, its endless sunsets and warm winds, they could almost taste home.

A fourth province, a fourth Kal Tire store, this time in Yorkton, Sask., to have the wheels torqued on her new tires. Finally, on the road home for good.

A little while after Rita and Steve got home, she wrote to us to tell us about her journey and her tour of Kal Tire stores across Canada.

“I don’t know what Kal Tire does to inspire such great service,” she wrote, “but your company needs to be commended for it. Thank you, to each and everyone we had the chance to meet at Kal Tire locations across Canada. Keep up the amazing work!”

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