That’s the way I’ve felt this week.
Now here is the truth. I am not a car person – I mean the mechanic part of being a car person. My father (because of his eyes) didn’t drive, so he made sure my mom had a fairly new car in fairly good condition. Then I married Ken who WAS a car person and because of that I never, ever had to worry about our car. He always had me drive the “good” car (which is why I never had to drive the orange VW bus) and whenever the car I was driving made a noise – he’d tell me to take the other one and he’d take care of getting mine to the shop.
That was nice.
Some of you (who are regular blog readers) might remember my post about the night (shortly after Ken died) that my turn signal went out and I decided to change it myself – and did eventually get the correct turn signal, but when I took the plastic casing off, I realized it was a little more complicated that I had hoped.
That’s when I called a brand new, nearby auto shop and asked if they put in turn signals.
“Well, we could,” the mechanic said, “if we had one, but we don’t carry them.”
“Oh, I have one,” I explained.
“You have one?”
“Then bring it over,” he said.
When I got there, a mechanic was standing in the parking lot. “Are you the one that needs the turn signal put in.”
“My boss told me to come out and wait for you.”
So, the man patiently showed me how to put in a turn signal light and then didn’t charge me a cent.
“I will be back,” I promised.
And I did go back – many times. They have always been friendly and helpful and kept my car running.
Which brings me to today. I panicked. Well, maybe I had a reason to panic. On the way to work this morning, my gas pedal started sticking, which is not what you call a secure feelings. I had uncontrolled cruise control. I sort of chalked it up to the weather because the windshield wiper fluid wasn’t happening either – still it was rather unnerving.
And my service engine light came on.
I got to work and the morning went fairly smoothly, but then I ran out to Taco Bell for lunch and the windshield wiper fluid was now working, but the sticky gas pedal was even more sticky. I would push down on the gas and the pedal would simply stay there. Fortunately, my brake was overriding the gas and I didn’t have trouble stopping, but it still bothered me.
When got back to work I went straight to a meeting that was to last all afternoon. I sat there and attempted to participate, but that gas pedal problem was invading my mind. The thought of driving home on semi-icy roads in the dark with a stubborn gas pedal bothered me. So, when we had a break, I explained what was happening and decided to head home – and straight to my friendly neighborhood auto shop. I told them the problem and asked if they could fix it. They could, but not today.
I had seen the man who was helping me before, but didn’t really know him at all (like I do one of the other in-charge people). So, I reasoned with him. “Would it be possible to at least look at it today and tell me what’s wrong? Then I could bring it back in the morning.” My overactive mind was figuring things out. Michael could pick me up at the shop, take me to work and drop me off after work.”
To make a long story short, I ended up sitting in the waiting room for two and a half hours while they did this and that. I signed a sheet of paper saying that I would pay $93.00 for labor and a computer diagnostic test and some other things. Then the mechanic came up and told me he had found the service light problem and he could fix it if I wanted to wait.
Anyhow – it would all come to $140.00 which made sense for what they did.
So I waited some more. I saw the mechanic come up front to talk to the behind-the-counter-in-charge guy, so I got up and walked to the door of the waiting room.
They didn’t see me.
“You know,” the mechanic said, “I’d like to waive all that diagnostic cost. She’s a good customer and I’ve worked on this car a lot. Let’s give it to her for $40.00.”
My service engine light is off. My gas pedal isn’t sticking. And I have $100 more that I might’ve had.
I am thankful.