July 1, 2013

It Pays To Be #93

51 Days. That’s how long Steve’s car was stranded in Las Vegas.

Our move from Colorado to San Diego started out great. We powered through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada in one day. As a prize to ourselves, we spent the night in Las Vegas.

The next morning had all the potential to be a fabulous fresh start. We packed up the cars and were pulling out of the hotel parking lot headed for our new life in San Diego. Optimism was at an all-time high. 

And then Steve’s car stopped in its tracks…literally in the hotel’s driveway.

It was 10:00am on Mother’s Day. Can you guess how many tow truck drivers and mechanics were working at that time? We were sitting ducks until my phone rang. It was Rashid…a mechanic who had been buried in one of my 50 or so unrequited Yelp inquiries. I hadn’t even bothered to leave a message on his answering machine because the odds of him calling me back were zero. Or were they?

Rashid had saved the day and luck was back on our side. We found a tow truck driver and Steve headed off to Rashid’s shop for what was meant to be a minor serpentine belt repair that should “only take an hour”.

But here’s the thing…the serpentine belt not only snapped, but in a fluke disaster, its shrapnel flew into the car’s timing chamber and destroyed the timing belt. We’re talking deep into the engine. By the time we figured this out, it was 4:00, Rashid’s shop was closing for the day and we had to find a rental car to get us back to San Diego. Steve was supposed to start his new job the next morning, and my car was so stuffed full of our crap, that Steve couldn’t even sit in the passenger seat.

By the time we got the rental car – which I must mention, involved me hurdling a Las Vegas highway barrier in 110 degree heat – the shop had officially closed, and our most valuable belongings were held captive in Steve’s car under Rashid’s watch.

We did a mental check of the car’s belongings. Two 60” flatscreen TVs. An entire entertainment system. All of our artwork. We kept telling ourselves, it’s no big deal. They’re just material items. We had just come off a year of learning that these sorts of things didn’t really matter anyway.

We made it to San Diego at midnight, slept at our friends’ house, and tried to put that nightmare of a day behind us.

The next morning we woke up realizing that we had forgotten about the car’s most important belonging: our filing cabinet full of our life’s paperwork. Rashid was in possession of our passports, social security cards, birth certificates, bank statements, you name it.

Now Rashid is known on Yelp for being an honest guy. He had pretty positive reviews (all 13 of them). And hey, he called us back on Mother’s Day. That’s a good sign, right?

It only took us about a week to realize that Rashid’s personality flaw is that he’s overly optimistic. What started out as a fix that was “only supposed to take an hour” turned into 2 days, then 1 week, then 3 weeks, then 5 weeks. After $1,000 in rental car charges, we eventually had to make a superfluous trip back to Las Vegas just to return said rental car. At least we got to stop by Rashid’s shop to pick up our filing cabinet (which had not been touched, by the way) and see the parts that were being replaced. And by “parts” I mean the entire engine.

Finally after 51 days, Steve flew to Las Vegas to pick up his injured automobile and his injured spirit.

80 miles into the drive home, the check engine light came on. One week later, Rashid’s verbal promise of a 1-year parts and labor warranty somehow mysteriously changed to 6-months of parts only.

On the bright side, at least the car is now safely back in San Diego and our identities haven’t been stolen.

So here’s to Rashid at Liberty Tech & Tire. Our Mother’s Day loss was your gain. It pays to be #93 on Yelp.

1 comment:

  1. What adventures you two have been on! High 5 to Rashid, good lord what an ordeal. Glad everything was in one piece, well at least the items inside the car.