BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It was July 16, 2016 after 8 p.m. when Tyla Carter and her daughter had just finished shopping at Juban Crossing. They were headed home when they got a flat tire. They managed to pull off on the shoulder just before the Denham Springs exit on I-12 West.
That's when an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputy came to the rescue.
"When he took the tire off, he discovered as fast as he was putting the Fix-a-Flat in, it was coming out of the back," said Carter.
The deputy realized he had to come up with a plan B because Carter said he, "Wouldn't let us stay there. He said, 'Oh no. I'm not going to leave you on the highway.' He went to his car and said, 'Wait a minute, this is a universal tire. Let's see if it fits. We going to pray.' He said, 'We going to pray that this fits.'"
The tire did fit, but the deputy was not finished just yet. The Carters live off the O'Neal Lane exit. He followed them home to make sure they did not have any problems with the temporary tire. When they approached their exit he, "Whipped around us because the light was coming up in traffic and so when he whipped around us, he stopped and put his lights on and he stopped the traffic."
He did the same thing when they approached their neighborhood.
"My baby said, 'Oh mama, I feel like we are VIP,'" said Carter.
When they made it home, the deputy refused to let Carter's husband take the tire off. Instead he, "Proceeded to take the tire off and when he finished, I said, 'Thank you so much.' He said, 'It's my pleasure.' He said, 'Because this is my job. I love doing what I do.'"
The next morning, July 17, that same deputy was one of the men who responded to Airline Highway. He was shot three times. "He" is Deputy Nick Tullier.
"I am the lady that Nick helped the night before the shooting," said Carter.
To Nick, she was a stranger in need of help, but little did he know, she would soon become family.
Tyla Carter is fallen Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson's aunt. That Sunday, she cried for her niece's husband. The next day, she found out about Deputy Tullier.
"My daughter said, 'Mom, it's Mr. Nick. I'm like, 'What you saying.' She said, 'It's Mr. Nick.' We both said, 'Like our hero Mr. Nick? Nick Tullier?' The cop that helped us the night before and we just couldn't believe he was one of the officers that had gotten shot because we just connected with him the night before. I told her it's got to be something for us to be intertwined with the cop that helped us the night before is the same officer that went down with Montrell," said Carter.
Fate would introduce them. Even though the Tulliers found out Nick had changed a woman's tire, they were desperate to find out who she was, but did not know how to track her down. It happened on its own at Officer Montrell Jackson's funeral service.
"I went to leave and this gentleman is standing behind the table beside her and said, 'Mr. Tullier, Mr. Tullier, come here, come here. I got something I need to tell you.' I said, 'Yeah?' He said, 'Well you know the lady the night before Nick changed the tire before the shooting?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'This is her right here.' What? There were chills, chills went straight up my arms," said Tullier's dad, James Tullier.
The more they talked about it, the more they realized everything that happened that night happened for a reason. The Carters were at Juban Crossing to pick up a birthday present. Otherwise, she said she never goes there. Nick lives off of Range Ave. and exits off the Denham Springs exit. That night though, "Nick was going to Juban Crossing to get a birthday present for one of his sons," said Tullier.
The tire that went flat was new. Nick is usually on his work motorcycle. That night, he was in a unit where he kept the spare tire that eventually helped the Carters get home.
"We were talking a couple of days ago about what if you had that flat somewhere else," Tullier said to Carter.
"It was destined. It was destined. All of it was destined. It was destined that it was Nick. It was destined that everything happened the next day intertwined us as a family," said Carter.
This is why Carter was able to see Nick for the first time since he changed her tire.
"I would tell him I love him. I love him. I love that he came to help us when no one else stopped to help us," said Carter.
Little did he know that night, he was helping his own family, a family that a much higher power brought together.
"We are a family. We worry about each other and care about each other," said Carter.
It definitely leaves just about anyone wondering that He truly does work His magic in ways no one will ever understand.