ZYTARUK: My broken car sent me down memory lane

To make lemonade out of this lemon of a day, there are some things I’d like to share

So let it be written…

My broken car just took me for a ride down memory lane.

Can’t say it’s ever a pleasant experience when your car dies, right?

Mine did this past week, on Highway 10. Dead alternator. Ker-plunk.

To make lemonade out of this lemon of a day, there are some things I’d like to share. First, a lady by the name of Raj Sandhu pulled over in her SUV and asked me if I needed a lift, a drink of water — it was warm that morning, waiting at the side of the busy highway — any help I might need. I mean, this woman really put her heart into helping me, a stranger. Was she a guardian angel? I think so. Anyway, if she ever runs for prime minister, she’ll be getting my vote.

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While we were speaking, Starlene the tow truck operator arrived, with a fellow in training. They soon told me what was wrong with my car, with knowing “ah-ha’s” and “yeps,” hooked the vehicle up and away we went to a mechanic in Newton named Kenny, on her recommendation.

As we approached Newton Auto-Care, it was my turn to say ah-ha. I knew this guy, Kenny Payne, having written a story on him seven years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he still had a clipping, from January 25, 2011. The lede was “When an auto mechanic tells you he has a surprise for you, it’s usually bad news. But not this time.”

Hmm, that’s some good writing, thought I.

If I do say so myself…

Anyway, this story, which appeared under the headline “One grand deed,” is worth retelling.

You see, Newton senior Doris Seelig, who was 70 at the time, found out that some businesses really do live up to their name; that the folks at Newton Auto-Care really did care. She brought her Chrysler in for repairs, not aware that an envelope she’d misplaced and was desperately hunting for had slipped behind her back seat.

The envelope contained $1,000 in cash — one month’s pension she’d been saving to go on a trip to Oregon with her Clover loafers seniors group. She’d been looking for it for months. The mechanic, Kelly Hunt, discovered it while removing the back seat to get at her fuel pump. He told his boss, Kenny, who promptly returned the envelope and cash to Doris. Overcome with gratitude, she contacted me (a reporter), hence the write-up.

Seven years later, Kenny hauled out that newspaper clipping to show me, with fresh pride. Cool.

A second “what-hey” moment came when I met the mechanic who’d be fixing my car. After a bit, I realized I’d worked with this fellow, Geoff Da Silva, in the 1980s at a business called West Coast Bottling (Bottlers?) in Whalley. Anyway, it was a long time ago. The place was also called Pic-a-Pop.

I was like, “Hey, weren’t you into Metallica?” and he was like, “You played guitar, right?” and I was like, “You did Randy Macho Man Savage impressions, right?” and he was like, well, you get the picture.

It’s indeed a small world. So that morning, I guess, was not entirely unpleasant considering it started with my car being dead at the side of Highway 10. Still, that part of it really sucked, big time.

So let it be done.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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