Hello Adventurers! If you’re like me, then you LOVE road trips but they don’t always go to plan. Sometimes cars break down and you have to improvise. We recently went up to Connecticut to retrieve the rest of my furniture from my Condo. Since it’s sitting on the market not selling, we decided to become landlords (eek!). Our tenants moved in Saturday, so we needed to get everything out by Friday.
We succeeded in getting everything out, but about 75 miles into our drive, the truck began backfiring. We pulled over. Anthony took a look at the engine and called AAA. Their response ASTOUNDED us. It wasn’t covered because of the load in the bed of the truck. They couldn’t help us.
Stranded, Afraid, And Panicked
Up until now, I have been a total believer in AAA. It’s gotten me out of plenty of binds. However, when we later discovered that a load in a pick-up truck was covered up to 7,000 lbs, my faith in AAA wavered. We were nowhere near reaching that weight with our load of a few boxes, a few pieces of furniture, and ourselves. Anthony thinks there was only about 5,000 lbs total, including ourselves.
At this point, we were beaten down. What could we do? We were stuck on the side of the road, with cars whizzing by entirely too fast. Luckily, Anthony is good with mechanics, and he had a pretty good idea what the problem was. He made some adjustments and got us off the highway to a local shop. We had a choice between two places, a chain and a local. I chose the local.
That’s when our luck changed. Tim and the guys at Christie’s Service were a little stumped at what to do at first (it already being late Friday afternoon), but they dropped everything to help us.
Why You Can’t Buy Humanity
They could have turned us away. I’m sure they had plenty to do on a Friday night before closing. They could have told us they couldn’t help us until they opened again on Monday. But they didn’t. They put their heads together and made some more adjustments to get us back on the road. What they did was a bandaid, but I’m happy to report that it got us to our friends in New Jersey (whom we were staying with for the weekend) and then safely home on Sunday.
Here’s the thing– I will ALWAYS choose a local service over a chain. Chains often have rules and regulations they have no choice but to follow. Local business owners get it. They understand the struggles life throws at you. They act with humanity and kindness. Their business model isn’t defined by profit, it’s defined by community. Christie’s not only fit us in at the last minute, but they treated us with kindness and offered us comfort in a very stressful situation. You can’t put a price on that kind of service.
They helped us when others wouldn’t, and I will always be grateful to them for that. That’s the kind of small business a community will rally behind in times of trouble. That’s the kind of small business I want to be, in my own way.
5 Tips On How To Handle A Breakdown
- Despite our recent disappointment, I do suggest having a service at least similar to AAA. Get somewhere safe and off the road (car included, if possible) and call them. If you’re blocking a roadway, call an emergency dispatcher, too.
- Breathe. Panicking will do more damage than good. Take deep breaths and while you’re waiting for a tow, call someone who is good at calming you down.
- Find a local shop–Seriously. Get on Google and find a local shop with good ratings. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
- Write down (or type in your phone) everything your car was doing when you broke down. The more detail the better. It helps the mechanic diagnose the problem, even if you’re car illiterate like me. Seriously, I’ve explained more problems with sound effects than I care to admit.
- Stay out of harm’s way. This is the MOST IMPORTANT tip. Seriously. Cars are expensive, but they are REPLACEABLE. You aren’t. You’re special. You’re loved. You need to get through it. The car isn’t worth your life.
The best thing you can do is show immense gratitude for everyone who helps you during your breakdown. Thank the dispatcher you talk to on the phone. Thank the tow truck operator. Don’t forget to thank the mechanic who fixes your car and all the people they work with. You cannot show too much thanks. If it’s anything we’ve learned from our recent experience, it’s that there are decent, honest people in the world. They deserve to be acknowledged as the champions they are.
I am so grateful for all the guys at Christie’s that helped us with our car, talked to us so we weren’t panicking, and treated us with kindness. With all the terrible things happening in our world, it’s nice to be reminded that those people exist.
If you live in CT near the Westport area, please do me a favor and give Christie’s some of your business. They are good people and will treat you well. We need more people like them in this world.
And Tim–If you ever read this, know you and your guys have our lifetime gratitude for getting us home. I won’t forget your kindness.
Be Safe Rather Than Sorry
My mother has a lot of treasured phrases, and quite a few kept me calm on Friday when all of this happened. She often said when we were growing up that she’d rather be safe than sorry. While I don’t think this phrase is applicable in every situation, it rang true on that day. We stayed as safe as possible, and if you’re stranded, you should do the same. I firmly believe that everyone needs to take risks for creativity and passion. But, I also believe that life is precious. I feel the need to repeat:
YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOUR CAR.
Cars can be replaced, but the soul and fire that lives within you is irreplaceable. Hold that fire close and keep it safe, rather than be sorry. Take your car for tune ups. Check your brakes often. Follow your maintenance schedule. It could make all the difference.
I know this is a little outside my normal subject, but I was just so grateful and astounded at everything we went through on Friday that I had to share. Thank you for humoring me.
Be safe on all your adventures. If you have a story/experience to share, please comment below! I’d love to hear from you. Also, let’s be friends! Add me on social media below!
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Thank you for taking the time to read, and as always–
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