You know, mechanics/tire shops happily provide that service to men, too, so I don't think it was just a "damsel in distress" situation. My husband pulled into a shop with a nail in his tire and fully expected to pay the guy for his time. The man told him no charge, despite taking the time to remove the nail and pump air into the tire. Apparently, the small business owner told him that it's a good business practice to help people with small issues like this for free because they return when they need new tires!
I'd like to think it's easier for women to ask for such favors and men assume they'll have to pay, but I'm willing to pay for such services to be treated as equal to a man.