Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

Towed-ally Awful Day

by Rebecca on 2008-02-01

Here are a few things that preface this story.

  1. Yesterday, I drove by my old mechanicʼs shop and thought, “I havenʼt seen him in ages. Iʼm so lucky to have a car that drives so well.”
  2. This morning, I filled up my gas tank and when I was resetting the Trip A odometer, I realized that I had nearly 28,000 miles on my car. I thought, “Iʼm getting pretty close to the 30,000 miles mark, and I havenʼt had any major maintenance issues. Lucky me!”
  3. William and I had planned to spend the weekend with the Jacksons in Waco so that we could all attend a temple session in Dallas Saturday morning.

With such obvious foreshadowing, you might have guessed what happened next. Today, my car broke down. My sweet little powder blue hatchback Toyota Matrix finally failed me. I was driving to the Institute to meet William for the Friday Forum ($2 lunch and a motivational speaker!) and noticed that I was having considerable trouble accelerating above 15 mph and the “Check Engine” light came on. (Except itʼs just a graphic, not words, so I had to consult my ownerʼs manual to verify that it was indeed the engine depicted and not, say, the carburetor. See how little I know about cars? But no matter — if a light comes on, Iʼm going to get my car checked out!) I made it to the Institute fine, and after lunch William checked out the car, and everything looked OK. I even drove back to work without any trouble.

I described my troubles to a co-worker who also owns a Toyota, and she suggested that I check for a loose gas cap, since that had caused her “Check Engine” light to come on in the past. I went back to my car, checked the gas cap, which appeared to have been screwed in securely, and decided to take it for one more drive around the parking garage. Thatʼs when I knew that something was seriously wrong, because the car died 3 times before I could start it and then I putted around the parking garage, my car shaking gently the whole way.

At that point, I left my car in the garage and went back to my office. I started chatting with William who graciously agreed to call USAA to arrange for a tow truck to pick up my car and take it to a Toyota dealership for repair. Within 30 minutes, the tow truck had arrived, and the guys were working on moving it out of the garage and to the street to load it on to the truck. (It was kind of like the part in The Sound of Music where the Von Trapps are trying to leave their house quietly, and the Nazis stop them. The Captain tells them that their car wonʼt start, and then the Nazi starts the car without any trouble.) The guys put it in neutral and rolled it out of the garage before they finally listened to me say, “Iʼm pretty sure that you would be able to get it started long enough to move it 15 feet.” Anyway. They got the car loaded into the truckʼs bed, I retrieved my things from my office, and we all headed off to the dealership. This was my first ever ride in a tow truck. And it wasnʼt nearly as cool as youʼd think it would be.

The reason I had taken my car to this particular dealership is that my co-worker Carolyn had recommended them, and one of her friendsʼ husband is the service manager there. I talked to several different people about what was wrong with my car and explained that I would probably need a ride home. Their shuttle service stops running at 4, and I arrived at 3:50. But one of the people who helped me had a familiar last name, so I asked him if he knew Carolynʼs friend. It turns out that he was her brother-in-law (not her husband, but still family), but that didnʼt matter because he pretty much bent over backward to make sure that I could get home. He found me a driver who was willing to take me home beyond her scheduled hours, and he gave me his card to help me find a ride back to the dealership tomorrow. I asked him if the shuttle ran on Saturdays, and he said, “Not usually, but we can work something out.” That guy is good!

At this point, I remembered that I still had all of our bags in the hatch of my car, including our temple clothes, and I didnʼt want to take any chances on losing those. So, one of the other service managers drove me out to their repair lot to get my things out of the car, brought me and my bags back to their service office, and handed me off to the driver. And she and I had a nice visit as she brought me back to my apartment. She even figured out the zodiac signs of everyone in the Allen family — such a talented lady. But she did try to tell me that Mom and Dad werenʼt compatible because Capricorns and Leos donʼt usually get along.

Total time elapsed between the tow truck pick up at my office and my return home: 2.5 hours. I attribute that entirely to the excellent customer service from USAA and Champion Toyota, along with some good help from William and sound advice from a co-worker.