Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Day in Hell (a cold one, too!)

Warning- this might be a long story, but OMG, I've got to Vent!!!
I woke up before the crack of dawn intending to get to work before 5am. You see, I had 7 catering jobs this morning-- all of them were to be delivered between 6:30am and 9:45am. I wasn't sure how I would pull it off, but I figured that if I got to work early enough I could get it done. Everything was going fine and I left my house shortly after 4am. I had only driven less than 2 miles when my car started acting up- the wipers stopped, the radio turned off and my headlights began to dim. I quickly turned into the entrance of the "Colonial Hills" subdivision to see if my headlights were on at all. They weren't. And soon afterwards, nothing was working. The engine shut down. As I stood there trying to figure out what I was going to do, a car pulled into the driveway of the home that I was parked in front of. Along came Mike and Brianna. They work the overnight shift at the Kroger warehouse and they were willing to help me. What great fate that these two strangers showed up at my time of need, and were willing to help. Mike checked his garage for jumper cables and couldn't find them. He thought he might have loaned them to a friend. I figured that would be the end of their assistance. I was wrong. Mike got back into his car and left- headed to his friend's house to retrieve the cables. He came back a few minutes later, without cables. His friend didn't have them. Before I knew what was going on, I was sitting in the backseat of Brianna's car in search of a gas station that sold jumper cables. We ended up at the West End Chevron where I purchased some cables. We came back to East Point and jumped the car off on the first try. Unfortunately, shortly after removing the cables, the car died again. It wouldn't hold a charge. I decided that this was a worthless attempt, and I was losing time. I needed to be at work, I didn't have time for this! Mike and Brianna drove me to the MARTA station and dropped me off. After 2 trains and a bus, I arrived at work at 6:15am-- I had 15 minutes to load the van. Luckily, we had a new Manager (David) starting today and his job was just to observe operations. I figured he was a warm body and recruited him to observe catering. David came along for the ride and was a huge help. We got all of the deliveries to their locations- most of them were on time, a couple of them were a few minutes late. I was just amazed that I pulled it off after everything looked so hopeless earlier in the day.
After the catering jobs were finished, I got back on MARTA and headed back to my car. I called the roadside assistance number and there was a tow truck sitting by my car by the time that I walked the mile distance from the MARTA station to Colonial Hills. The driver, Dustin, loaded up my car and we headed to Steve Rayman Chrysler in Union City. I had already called the dealership and warned them that I was coming. When we pulled into the dealership, a red-haired lady came running towards the tow truck screaming my name. Her name is Shelly, and she's my new best friend! Shelley is the asst service manager, and the lady I had talked to on the phone earlier. Shelley got my car pushed to the front of the line and within the hour she had a diagnosis. It was the alternator-- not a factory defect, but something caused by a faulty de-installation of something that had previously been attached to the alternator (boom box, maybe). I figure that the car was a repo and the former owner removed it hastily. He didn't reattach the battery cable to the alternator correctly and it caused the battery connection to melt into the alternator, ruining the alternator, the battery and the battery cable.
I just bought this car 3 weeks ago. It only has 3000 miles on it. It's covered by 3 different warranties, but none of them applied to this problem since it wasn't a factory defect. The cost to repair the problem was over $700. In desperation, I called Carmax and spoke to the manager, Jeff. I told him my problem and he immediately said that he would take care of it. He wanted me to have my car towed back to his shop in Norcross, but after some negotiating he agreed to let the dealership fix the problem, and even paid for a rental car for me for the weekend, since the car won't be ready until Monday. I think that was pretty fair, and I was satisfied with both Carmax and Steve Rayman Chrysler for taking care of the problem without causing me anymore stress. I don't think I could've taken anything more today. I was at my wits end already. The only downside is that I have to pay for the repair and the rental, and will be reimbursed in a couple of weeks. This is not good, but I didn't have any choice. I am confident that everything will turn out fine. They have an electronics specialist coming in to look my car over during the weekend to verify that there was no damage to the electrical system. I'm actually glad that this happened. If it happened next week, it would've been past the 30 day anniversary of my purchase and Carmax wouldn't be bound to do anything. I asked the dealership to let me know of ANYTHING that they find wrong with the car. While I'm still under the 30 day mark, I can get everything corrected and hopefully will not have any problems in the future.
It was a frustrating day, but I have to say that it opened my eyes. I truly appreciate the fact that so many strangers came to my aid today. I've always depended on the kindness of strangers, and today they all showed up en masse to look after me. Thank God for Brianna, Mike, Dustin, David, Shelly and Jeff. I just hope that I am just as kind and helpful to strangers in need as you all were to me today.


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