One of my least favorite things to do is car maintenance and car repair. I am good at taking my car in for its routine oil change but I dread it…like I dread going to Walmart. Two weeks ago, my husband’s car broke down. We were briefly stranded in a Dollar General parking lot waiting for a tow truck. Yet, even as we sat there, Roger and I realized that it couldn’t have happened at a better place and time. We had just arrived home from vacation the day before. It could have happened on vacation. Yuck. The car happened to break down a couple of miles from my brother-in-law’s house. He was able to pick us up and loan us one of his cars for a few days.
Can an inconvenience get any more convenient than that?
Turns out Roger’s car is having some sort of clutch issue. The good news…the manufacturer says it is covered under warranty. The bad news…many folks are in need of this one part and it’s currently on back order. Because of this, his car has been in the repair shop for two weeks. Again, my husband and I both realize how the situation could be worse. There was a season in both of our lives when we only had one car and when it broke down there was no alternative option and, on top of that, there was no money available to fix the car. For the past two weeks, Roger has been driving his old 1996 Ford Ranger truck to work. After charging the battery, it’s been running great even though it has over 250,000 miles on it.
Last weekend, my car, a 2009 Toyota Corolla, started making a weird sound. Oh no, I thought, what should I do? Roger’s car is in the shop (indefinitely) and he’s driving our normal back up option. We are out of back up plans. There seemed to be only two options available.
I could turn my car radio up really loud and pretend the noise wasn’t there…buying time until my husband’s car got out of the shop, hoping the problem didn’t get any worse.
I could schedule a repair appointment and sit in the dreaded repair shop waiting for it to be looked at.
I’m happy to report I made the WWARAD decision (What Would A Responsible Adult Do?)
A neighbor gave me the name of a shop that did great work on her car. When I called Monday morning and described the issue, they informed me that they didn’t do that kind of work (they work on axles, etc.) but they did refer me to a shop not too far from them.
I called and they scheduled my appointment for yesterday morning at 8:00am. I have to say, that this was the best experience I ever had at a car repair place. Yet, when I drove up, I was a little hesitant. The property was lined by a chain link fence and there were hundreds of junk cars scattered around the property, The office was a run down looking building right in the middle of this car graveyard. When I walked inside, my surroundings kind of looked like a tame episode of Hoarders. Stuff was everywhere. There was no “waiting room” but there were chairs set up sporadically in the midst of the mess.
However, I was quickly reminded of two truths:
- Never judge a book by its cover
- Sometimes the most beautiful things are found in the midst of the mess
I received incredible service from the moment I pulled my car into the parking lot. Within a few minutes they had diagnosed my problem (a bad water pump). When the mechanic pulled up the specifications on the computer, it estimated the labor would be over two hours. The mechanic exclaimed, “there is no way that’s going to take me over two hours to replace. We’ll get it done quicker than that for you.”
For the next 90 minutes I sat in this mess, sipped my coffee, and chatted with the two lovely ladies working behind the counter…a grandmother and her granddaughter. We talked about family. We talked about where we lived. We talked about where we attended church. I had a delightful time. 🙂 I pulled into the lot at 8:00 am. I pulled out before 10:00 am.
I love being pleasantly surprised, don’t you?
Can you think of a time when you’ve braced/prepared yourself for the worst and it turned out being good instead?