On Monday, Cole and I had planned to head to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit the Henry Ford Museum and other car attractions for the day. I was looking forward to the field trip, but when Darby, the VW Midwest Bug expert, called and said he would look at the June Bug’s engine and tweak as necessary, our plans quickly changed to towing the Bug 35 miles outside of Chicago for a visit with Darby.
Our first stop was the neighborhood U-Haul store to rent a truck and an auto transport trailer. Easier said than done. They had a pick-up truck but not a trailer. Bob, the talker, wanted to make us happy and was so unhappy that he couldn’t rent us a truck and trailer that I was afraid if I didn’t offer an intervention, he would start to sob. I quickly told Bob I would take the available pick-up if he could find us a trailer at another location. Bob, realizing that all was not lost, called his main office and found us a trailer at another U-Haul location. Smiling his big Bob smile, he wrote up a contract for the truck, but not before telling us his entire history with U-Haul. People in line behind me wanted to pull out a gun and shoot me, and frankly, I was kind of hoping one of them would. Finally, contract in hand, I sent Cole home with our car so he could get the Bug ready to trailer, and I proceeded on to pick up the trailer.
The trailer location wasn’t in the best of neighborhoods; it sat behind a scrap metal yard, which I guess is the politically correct term for junk yard. The parking lot was filled with junk cars and wandering homeless. Hope sprang eternal when I saw the U-Haul sign with a trailer under it. However, my hope sprang a leak when I discovered the site was pad locked, the trailer wheels were flat, and the contact number was disconnected. As I walked back to my car, a wino rolled out of a junk car and told me that “the U-Haul guy is a bad ass who has long gone.” He then suggested that I take a picture of the locked store and the trailer “for evidence.” As I started to walk away, he asked me for a couple of bucks so he could visit his poor mama and little sister. I handed him what was in my pocket, and he serenade me with “You Are My Sunshine” as I walked back to my car.
Once inside my car, I called the 1-800 U-Haul number and told the women on the phone what had happened. She found our contract, noticed our home address, and was surprised that we lived in the same neighborhood as she did when she was growing up in Chicago. We might still be on the phone if I hadn’t told her that my phone’s battery was dangerously low. A new trailer reservation was made, and I was given $50 credit for my angst.
At the third U-Haul location, the trailer was quickly hooked up to my pick-up, and I pulled out of the parking lot with all the confidence of someone who had once pulled a horse trailer when she was 17.
When I arrived home, the Bug was sitting in front of the house. Cole had pushed the Bug from the alley behind our garage all the way around to the front of the house, lodging a gas can and a wooden block behind the clutch to keep it in place while he pushed. Cole looked a little worse for wear, but the Bug was ready to be pushed up the incline and onto the trailer—a feat for more than one person. Life was feeling pretty hard; I went inside to grab a couple of cokes. When I came back, Cole and another guy were pushing the Bug onto the trailer. The stranger stopped to offer help when he noticed Cole standing alone beside the Bug and the trailer. With the Bug loaded four hours after we entered our first U-Haul store, we were driving out to where god lost his sandals to visit Darby, the Bug expert.
C: Do you know what I’ve noticed?
KB: No, what?
C: Most people will lend a hand, if they see you need help. The other day, Johnny (Cole’s friend) and I stopped and pushed this ladies stalled car into a parking lot for her. She offered us money, but we didn’t take it. It didn’t seem right. And today, that guy stopped when he noticed I needed help pushing the Bug.
KB: Funny how that works, isn’t it? (There was so much more to say, but I decided to let the universe continue to speak for itself.)
The rest of the trip was a breeze. Well, with the exception of our Starbucks stop. It might have been a mistake to attempt the drive-thru lane with the trailer. Hindsight is 20-20.
Odd Loves Company!