I’ve never had high expectations for teenagers with fluorescent hair and facial piercings. I have no idea where this misanthropic stereotype comes from but it has definitely influenced my thoughts and behaviors over the years.

It’s strange, then, when an experience comes along that totally shatters what I’ve been telling myself.

So I’m in a cheap rental car outside of Denver when my cell phone slides off my car seat and lodges itself among the metal braces below. I pull into a mini-mart parking lot to retrieve it. It’s cold and I’m running late. With my legs sticking out the door, I reach down between the seats to find my thin, do-it-all device.

My hand gets stuck. It hurts. The more I pull, the stucker I get. I hear people passing, muffled laughter. I’m too embarrassed to call out.

“Let’s get you out of there.”

I look up and see a lanky girl with bright pink hair and metal rings attached to her nose, lips and eyebrows. She kneels next to me. She cups one of her hands over my stuck one. With her other hand she moves the car seat lever back slowly. I’m free.

The ringed rescuer is not done. She asks for my phone number, calls it on her phone and we both hear the silly tune playing on my cell. Using her thin and very tattooed forearm, the girl retrieves my lost object.

My stereotype is totally busted. Based on appearance only, this young lady is the last person I would have bet on saving my hand and my dignity.

I want to give her 20 dollars as a thank-you tip, but she refuses. “My pleasure,” she says. “You’d do the same for me.”

I hope she’s right.