So, it was an eventful Valentine’s day.
Valentine’s Day is my husband’s birthday. (I detest the expression DH when referring to one’s husband in e-communications. You will not see the two letters DH strung together on this website). As I was saying, it is my husband’s birthday on Valentine’s Day. This Valentine’s Day slash birthday was complicated by the fact that his parents called to say they were in town and would like to see him on his birthday. This was a lovely, but still a surprise. And although I pride myself on my ability to roll with things there was only so far I could roll this week. I had to go into work on Thursday to deal with a complicated mailout.
I was hoping to leave early, but wrapping stuff up took me an extra 45 minutes of cleaning and loading up my beat up 1990 Volkswagen Passat with the remaining pieces of the mailout to finish on Friday and the weekend. (Child labour has its merits.)
I get on to West 2nd and I am met with gridlock. Absolute hellish gridlock. When is that fricking Canada Line going to be finished? And then it happens, my oil light goes on. What the? I put two litres of oil in the car on Monday! So, I sweat myself to the Shell on Main and 2nd and buy four liters of oil. I put three in the car. The oil light goes off. Okay, note to self, get the car in to get that oil leak repaired. I call my husband. I will meet them all at the local Ricky’s.
I crawl my way down first to Clark, to Knight Street to the 91 Highway. The traffic was so bad you might have thought it was snowing, despite all evidence to the contrary. And then it happens again. About two miles down the 91 the oil light goes on. Apparently this is a much worse oil leak than I thought. I pull over and put the last of the oil into the car. I wonder if I can possibly make it home? The oil is barely registering on the dipstick. I look up to see the flashing lights of a tow truck who has pulled in behind me. Thank God. So, in short Keith, the tow truck driver, pulled over because that’s his policy when he sees someone with their four ways on by the side of the highway. He towed me to a mechanic in Delta (he even called ahead, so the mechanic was there to meet us when we got there) and then took me to a Tim Horton’s so I could await pick up by my husband. He charged me $78.76.
So, who knows. The mechanic, who seems to be related in some way to Keith’s boss, may charge me an arm and a leg to fix my car. (Keith says he rebuilt a good chunk of his personal car for under $200, so maybe he’s a good guy.) Maybe Keith gets a commission to bring cars in that way. I know Keith got a commission to tow me. I do not in any way begrudge that. This morning, as I write this, I am so grateful that he had the decency to stop. I don’t have an auto club membership so I would have been stuck out there in the middle of no where for quite a while otherwise. He was helpful, respectful, and chatty in a comfortable getting to know you way. I liked him. He went out of his way as his shift was almost done and he was headed to New Westminster, not Delta. The mechanic went out of his way to stay to meet us (this was now around 6:45pm). And I know that two days from now, I am not going to have to fill out a customer satisfaction survey and I will not receive helpful promotional offers via email. It was an interesting visit to a different world.
The knights of our modern world might have tattoos, shaved heads and interesting facial hair, and their armour might be slightly rusted, but the code of chivalry remains. So, here’s to you Keith. Thanks for rescuing a damsel in distress and returning her to her family.
Update: Just got off the phone with the mechanic who is, by the way, a lovely fellow. The repair for this oil leak will be under $200 and if the seal comes in from the auto parts place on time I’ll have the car back by the end of day. So, how about that? That’s the cheapest car repair we’ve had in a year. So, in my second toast of the day, here’s to getting off the grid of auto clubs and dealer service shops and instead of being shafted as expected, discovering decency, honesty and folks helping other folks (granted for a price, but a reasonable price).
Compare: our last OIL CHANGE at the dealer service shop cost us $500 because of all the “other stuff” that needed to repaired. The last time two times we took our newer model car in to the dealer for a repair it cost us $1,200 both times and they had it for five days each time. But they’d be happy to lend me a courtesy car for an additional $50 per day. Then, once we get the car back (both times NOT vaccuumed which is one of the best treats about taking it to the dealer service shop in the first place) I have to be hounded for days for follow up customer satisfaction surveys and constant email reminders to fix all the little crap that they “discovered” the last time.
Compare: the last time I needed a tow, I realized I hadn’t renewed my auto club membership. So, when I called, they wanted to not only charge me the membership fee, BUT ALSO an additional call-out fee and oh by the way, a year ago, the tow truck driver copied your credit card number down wrong for the additional mileage so you owe that too. I know for a FACT that I settled up that wrong credit card number issue MONTHS AGO, but how am I supposed to dig up an old credit card bill from the last tax year to prove that to someone when I need a tow right now? So, I essentially told them forget the whole thing. I pulled out the yellow pages and called a local towing company that charged me $60 to take it to my garage of choice, no mileage on top of the hook-up. And again, no follow up customer satisfaction surveys or promotional offers.
So, auto club $200 plus hassle, aggravation and vague assumption of criminal tendencies.
Towing company out of my yellow pages $60. No hassle, no assumptions about my character at all one way or the other and no customer experience followup.
It’s a brave new world out there off the grid. Have you had any similar experiences? I’d like to hear them.