Sunday, June 27, 2010

8:30am Tee Time Becomes "Tow Time"

Wow. I guess I really killed that car battery. The car ran great all day yesterday, through the stops and starts of my errands, after Pop-A-Lock gave me a boost and I let it run for 40 minutes.


Today, my Sunday was packed--8:30 tee time, exploring Belmont and McAdenville, food shopping, then the Charlotte Symphony POPS in South Park. I was up early, got all my golf stuff together and into the car. It started right up, and I drove to the bank at 7:15 to get a little cash.

I'm off!

Not so fast...I turned the key and nuthin'. If you read my post from yesterday, you know the drill.

1. Say "WHAT??!"  Out loud, to no one.
2. Then, stay calm, as this is not the end of the world.
3. Execute Plan "B"--I have a cellphone, insurance and cash. Plus, cold bottled water and I'm in the shade.
4. Call Geico, they'll send a tow truck. This is a bigger battery issue than a boost.
5. Call golf course and cancel. No problem, and they invited me to a big outing and BBQ on July 4th. And, we've never met!
5. Re-tool this Sunday.

I've been through way more harrowing car stuff, including a blown out tire while driving (with my mother) on the (unforgiving, shoulder-less) Brooklyn-Queens Expwy in NYC rush hour. So I had this wheezing battery thing in perspective. Irritating, yes. Especially two days in a row. But, not dangerous.

While I was waiting for the tow, I was wondering if there would be a service station open this early on Sunday morning.  I am not a fan of unusable blocks of time. Mac arrived, smiling, with a big flat bed truck. He called around and found an Auto Zone store where I could buy a new battery. He gave the ole battery a boost (it's 9 years old and was on life support), then loaded the car onto the truck. P-l-e-n-t-y of room to manuever in the bank parking lot at 7:30am...

Off we went. He never mentioned the "overage charge" for going more than 5 miles, and once we got there, Auto Zone opened the door for him an hour early even though they didn't open til 9am. The shop guys weren't due til 9. I thought he'd say goodbye there, hand me a receipt for towing, and I'd wait an hour.

I'm seriously noticing a huge difference in "service" and how people treat one another here in North Carolina. Yes, that's a broad statement, and there are bad people and jerks everywhere, but...

Mac came back to the car and said he could borrow some tools from their shop and he'd install the battery for me.

He's the tow truck driver. He's installing the battery. For me. What?!

While I was in the store, I asked the woman behind the counter, Eva, if I should consider buying a portable battery booster. I had this thought yesterday, and wrestled with my inner "wonder woman."  Instead of making a quick sale, she said "when I give you this new battery, you'll have no need for that. You'll find that people in Charlotte are pretty helpful."  Huh.

I asked Mac about the mileage overcharge, and he waved me off. I handed him $20 and he looked shocked, saying I didn't have to do that. HAVE TO? I wanted to, he went above and beyond.  I would have been charged by an auto body shop for an installation anyway, and I was pleased to give that money to him.

Mac and Eva--the bright silver lining to my battery woes.

I sure have noticed that extra level of helpfulness in my 4 short weeks here. A car died (no, not mine!) in a turning lane while the light was green. No honking, no one yelling "Get outta the way!!!" "You idiot!"  "What're ya waiting for, an engraved invitation?" Instead, people from across the road hopped out to help push the car off to the side.

I was in the grocery store this morning (Harris Teeter!) and asked a guy wearing chef's whites if he knew where the Panko bread crumbs were. I'd done a few laps and I didn't see them. He asked "Where are you from?"  Turns out, in Charlotte, 'fancy food' is found at the International Market, or Trader Joe's. He gave me all kinds of streets and intersections and it was like the Peanuts gang hearing the adults garble garble. A lot of information. I thanked him, then he turned around and said, "If you come by my restaurant, I'll give you some panko, we have a ton." Huh.

It's not an emergency...but I have to tell you--what a cool guy. The extra mile.

No golf for today. I'll look forward to next weekend's outing and BBQ. I've re-tooled my Sunday. Made a yummy sammy with the farmer's market finds from yesterday and will go exploring this afternoon...then to the POPS concert. Life is good. Level and Plumb.

No comments:

Post a Comment