It took me about four hours to get home from work tonight. No, it wasn’t snowing and there was no traffic. I left my office tonight and made the block long walk to our parking lot so I could get in my pick-up truck and go home. I got in my truck, put the key in, turned it, and the truck wouldn’t start. This didn’t make any sense. In all of 8 years I've had this truck (original owner) it has never given me any problems. I take good care of my truck, so much in fact, that it still looks and runs like new. Except right now.
I tried it again. The battery has power, the engine turned over, but it would not catch. The engine just wouldn’t start. I tried a couple more times to make sure it isn’t the battery, it isn’t the starter, the spark plugs and wires are fairly new. Why won’t my truck start? I got out to check under the hood. A fellow who said he was a mechanic offered to help and he couldn’t find anything wrong. After a while we determined it had to be the fuel pump. It just wasn’t powering on. If gas won’t pump to the engine, the engine just won’t run. Great. Now what do I do? It is after 7PM and it’s a good guess most all the repair shops are closed by now.
First, I called my wife to ask her to come pick me up. She didn’t answer her phone. It turns out that something was going on with the cell signal and she never got the call. I kept getting her voice mail. Where is she?, I thought. Just when I need her, she doesn’t answer. I was starting to get annoyed, to say the least. I tried the house phone and got no answer there either. While I was talking to the answering machine, my wife picked up. Okay, now she’s on the way to come get me. She seemed somewhat calm about everything, thinking of this as a chance to have dinner downtown. I also wasn’t very nice to her. I was allowing myself to become annoyed by my situation and I did not speak to my wife in a loving or kind manner. (Shame on me)
I called some friends to see if they would know who I could call to get my truck fixed. I’ve lived here only 2 ½ years and hadn’t had any problems like this before, so I was totally unprepared. The only thing helpful I found out was where NOT to take it, which, by the way, is the same place that Clueless (see below) suggested I take it. The minister friend who married my wife and me has a son who is a mechanic. A good one. I called him and made arrangements to take my truck to him. Now I just had to get it there. So I called AAA.
“Hello, this is Clueless. How may I help you?”
“My truck won’t start. I need some help”
“Okay, may I have your AAA membership number?”
“Sure, it’s……..” and I gave it to her. It turned out that the membership had expired. Boy, this day just keeps getting better all the time. So I renewed my membership over the phone. She had trouble spelling my name, even after I told her how to spell it. She did the same thing with my wife’s name when I added her to the account. “…and how do you spell her last name? Oh wait, I have that…”
Why is it that they get these people that feel the need to put you on hold every couple of minutes for no apparent reason?
“Now what seems to be wrong with your vehicle?”
“It won’t start”
“Have you tried to start it?”
“Yes, ma’am. Why do you think I’m calling you?”
“Oh. Would you please hold? I’ll be right back.”
I don’t understand why she went away. Maybe she just wanted to help me use up my cell phone minutes. At this point I was still being nice and trying my best to maintain a pleasant tone of voice.
“Okay now. So the cost for your new membership is $XX, and to upgrade to Plus Membership is $YY, and to add your wife to the account is another $ZZ. And also, since you need assistance tonight, there is an additional highway robbery fee of $XY. “
“Could you please just give me the grand total? The bottom line of what this whole thing will cost?”
“Well, it’s $XX for the membership, $YY for the upgrade. So the total is $Z-X”
“Wait, that is less than what you told me before. You mean by adding stuff, the cost went down?”
“Oh no, that’s in addition to the basic membership cost”
“So, the bottom line is a total of all that added up which is $XYZ.”
“Well, yes. I suppose you could say that”
"That is what I asked you for”
“Oh. And when will you be needing service?”
“Right now would be good”
“Oh, yeah, right. Is there anything else I can do for you this evening?”
“Yes, you can tell me when the tow truck will get here”
“He should be there in under two hours”
“Two hours? Are you telling me I need to wait out here for another two hours?”
“Sir, they’re busy and under two hours is all I can tell you. Would you hold please?”
“Why? You have my card number. You have all my information. You have the location where I am. You have all that you need. Why do you need to put me on hold again?”
“Oh, you’re right. I do have all I need. I guess we’re done then”
“I certainly hope so”
“Well, my name is Clueless. Thank you for calling AAA”
Not long after that, my wife showed up with the two oldest kids. We went and found a place to eat. It was after 8:30 and were all rather hungry. We decided on a place about two blocks from the truck so we’d be close by when the tow truck driver called to say he was getting close. A guy named John called a few times to update me on the location of the driver, so we figured we had time to actually sit down and eat. The driver was about 35 minutes away, but once we ordered dinner, it took a good 30 minutes to get the food. And no, I am NOT exaggerating! It really took that long! There was maybe two other people in the entire place! They were not busy! The service was amazingly slow, and the food was most definitely NOT worth the wait, or the price. I was getting annoyed. Normally, I am a generous tipper. Not today.
Note to self: If you find an eatery that is almost empty while all the other places nearby are packed – keep walking!
Luckily, we had just finished eating when John called to say the driver was just a few minutes away. I paid the check and hurried off to meet the driver.
I got to the parking lot to find a shiny new AAA tow truck waiting for me. The driver was a clean cut, smiling young man named Josh (same name as my son). Once we spoke and made sure I was the guy he was there to help, Josh asked me to sign the work order stating that he had found the right person. I pointed out which vehicle was mine. We discussed where we were going to tow the truck and he said he knew the place. As Josh set his clipboard back onto the seat of his truck, he looked at me, in the eyes, and asked “Would you rather just drive your truck home?”
“Why, yes, of course I would”
“Well, let’s go see what we can do”
Josh picked up a three pound hammer, got out of his truck and we headed for my pick-up. I was thinking to myself “What is he going to do with that hammer?” I couldn’t imagine.
We got to the truck and Josh asked what the problem was. “It won’t start. I think it may be the fuel pump”
He said we should check and asked me to try to start it. Geeze, I’d tried this before. I already knew it would turn, but it won’t catch. I turned the key halfway and asked if he could hear the fuel pump kick on. He said “No”, and asked me to turn the key all the way. I turned the key all the way. I knew what would happen. Just like before it just........
My truck started right up.
Josh just stood there smiling. He said this was the third time tonight that this had happened. He just shows up, and the people’s vehicle would just start working normally.
I shook his hand (hoping some of that would rub off on me) and thanked him. I even asked him if he would lay hands on my truck and bless it. Josh just laughed a little and told me to have a safe drive home.
As Josh walked back to his tow truck, I walked over to where my wife was now parked. Through the open car window I asked her and the kids to take a good look at the tow truck driver. I told them what had just happened and that “His name is Josh, and that is what an Angel looks like”
I apologized to my wife for the way I spoke to her earlier. Her response? “Hey, I got to come downtown and have dinner with you. We’ll follow you home”
I was given a test tonight. I tried my best to keep my cool, deal with difficult people without getting annoyed, and to make the best of a difficult situation. I think I could have done a lot better than I did. But God showed up and showed He loved me anyway. Thank You God for a praying wife.
Was Josh really an Angel? Well, I don’t know about you, but