I didn't know the idiom, "the rubber meets (hits) the road." So I was drawn to the passage, “When it comes to Ebola, the rubber met the road at the Firestone rubber plantation” appearing in NPR’s (October 6) article under the title, “Firestone did what governments have not: Stopped Ebola in its tracks,” which reads:
“The classic slogan for Firestone tire was “where the rubber meets the road.” When it comes to Ebola, the rubber met the road at the Firestone rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia. Harbel is a company town not far from the capital of Monrovia. Firestone workers and their families make up a community of 80,000 people across the plantation. Firestone detected its first Ebola case on March 30, when an employee’s wife arrived from northern Liberia and was diagnosed with the disease. Since then Firestone has done a remarkable job of keeping the virus at bay.”
Obviously, the line “the rubber met the road at the Firestone rubber plantation” is associated with Firestone’s familiar product slogan, and is used here, I guess, to mean that the Firestone rubber plantation kept the prevalence of Ebola virus at bay.
I wonder if I can use the phrase, “the rubber meets the road at (place)” in the sense of keeping a problem under the firm control” as a generic mention, without any specific reference to the Firestone slogan.
Is “When it comes to Ebola, the rubber met the road at the Firestone rubber plantation” a nonce term?