Cars passed heading for holiday destinations, as the driver got out to search for the jack of the Peugot 206, which they had just collected from a rental firm.
Without a manual, it was difficult to find anything, even the bonnet release, in case the tools were stored in front. They felt stranded.
Then to their surprise, a maroon Ciro stopped and out stepped a smartly dressed, athletically built Spaniard in sunglasses, who offered assistance and went straight to the tool compartment.
He spoke little English and was clearly in a hurry, taking control of the situation and urging the wife to get out of the car and help her husband to change the wheel.
He loosened the wheel nuts and showed the driver where to locate the jack. Once satisfied that the tourists were capable of completing the repair our hero made it clear he must go. The driver asked his name, to thank him with the words Johnny, you're a good guy! He was not! The job completed, the wife went to look in her handbag for tissues to clean up, only to discover their loss. He had taken both their bags, including £400 cash, credit cards, passports and other valuables.
In desperation they waved down two police patrollers who did what they could to help, escorting them to S'Arenal police station to make a report and cancel the cards. Fortunately the husband had kept his wallet in his jacket, so they still have some money with them.
Later that Saturday one of their bags was found outside the Leroy Merlin store at Alcampo and staff contacted the Cala de Mar club where they were staying. It contained their non valuable items plus travel documents, except passports and a driving licence.
Was it all a coincidence, a case of an opportunist thief seizing the chance presented by a breakdown on the autopista?
Or was it a well-organised scam' targeting vulnerable tourists from the moment they collected their car in Palma and fixing a tyre so it would blow within ten kilometres?
These two travellers will be very wary in future of accepting help from a stranger posing as a good samaritan.
Far from helping others he was only intent on helping himself to their belongings. Be careful you are not Johnny's next victim.
Name and address supplied