Thursday, June 12, 2008

Well, that was an adventure.

Two days ago, the family and I were driving up to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City to meet up with my brother and his family. It was in the middle of rush hour traffic. We approached the very busy intersection of Foothill and Sunnyside. As the cars backed up, I made a totally pro manuever and darted into the turning lane early, passing all the suckers patiently waiting with their turn signals flashing. You snooze you lose, suckers!

Then, suddenly and without warning, the car just stopped. It shut down completely. Right there, in the left hand turning lane, right at the intersection, the car just stopped.

I quickly tried the ignition. Nothing.

HAILEY: What happened?

ME: It just stopped, I don't know.

HAILEY: What happened?

ME: (trying to think)

HAILEY: What do we do?

ME: (trying to think)

HAILEY: Well do something!

ME: (trying to think)

HAILEY: What are you doing?

ME: (trying to think)

HAILEY: Do something!

ME: I don't know, I'm trying to figure it out. Call someone or something.

It was at this point that Hailey decided to call 911.

Of course, by saying "call someone" I was referring to someone like my brother who was at the zoo, or my parents who lived a few blocks away or a friend who could help us out.

I called my brother and he quickly came to our rescue. As the traffic backed up behind us as far as the eye could see, we pushed the car right, across all lanes of traffic and down Sunnyside, using the coasting speed to make a right turn into a student housing parking lot.

HAILEY: Should I call 911 back and tell them nevermind?

Fortunately, Hailey had signed us up for AAA a few days prior to this fiasco. We called for a tow truck. Hailey and the kids loaded up with my brother and his family to go have dinner. Meanwhile, I waited with my father for the AAA guy to show up.

Eventually he did. And what's better, he knew what the problem was. Dead alternator.

AAA GUY: If you ran down to Auto Zone and got a new alternator, I'll just put it in for you right here.

Perfect. It was the one bit of good news I sorely needed. My father gave me a ride down to Auto Zone where I purchased a new alternator for a smooth $170. (Happy Father's Day, Steve.) We drove back and in a matter of minutes, the car was back in action. I retrieved my family from dinner and we called it a day.

So, what did I learn from this experience?

- AAA is definitely worth it. All families should have it.
- Older, wiser brothers are definitely worth it. All families should have one.
- 911 isn't really concerned with stalled vehicles.
- The alternator is that thing that keeps the battery charged.
- I really know nothing about cars.


Blogger Hailey Happens said...

I did tell 911 that it was not an emergency, if that makes a difference

6:28 PM

Anonymous Janie said...

Hey at least it was only $170. When we needed a new alternator, it cost $853. Damn Volkswagens!

1:52 PM


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