Earlier this week, I was away from home, spending a couple of days in the office for meetings. On the first day, my battery was dead when I tried to start the car up at lunchtime. Because I was on a schedule, I rode with someone else to lunch, and worried about it the whole time. I worried because my battery had worked just fine that morning, and I hadn't left my lights on, or a door open, or anything that would drain the battery. There was no reason for it to be dead. Except...on my way into the parking lot that morning, I'd bottomed out pretty hard on the inclined driveway. Enough to make my cd skip. Then, when I turned off the car, my cd popped out of the cd player. Weird.
So that was on my mind all through lunch. Everyone was busy and in a hurry (in all the same meetings as I), so I didn't want to inconvenience someone to help me jump-start my car. But I also didn't want to wait until the end of the day, in case it was something more than a dead battery. Then I remembered that Jon takes care of me, and keeps my AAA membership up-to-date. Hooray! I called AAA, and they gave me a call when they made it to the parking lot, so I could slip out of the meeting. I explained to AAA guy what had happened that morning, and how it might be more than a dead battery. We popped the hood, and sure enough, there was a problem. The battery had corroded so badly that it had compromised the strength of one of the clamps around the battery peg. My bump on the driveway that morning had jarred the clamp off of the peg. AAA Guy used some pliers to hold the clamp on while I started the ignition. Success! Then he told me that's all he could do, and I better go to a mechanic.
I happen to have a great mechanic in town. It was where Jon and I took our clunkers all through college and beyond. So, I gave Harry the mechanic a call, and he said to come on in.
Harry is an interesting character. He's a bit of a hermit, and doesn't say any more than he has to say. He sort of smirks as we try to explain the funny sounds or vibrations our cars have made. He doesn't ask many questions, just fixes it and goes on.
When I first brought my Hyundai to him, it was before I had even bought it, and I wanted him to look it over. He did, and said it looked all right. But then he took off his hat, scratched his head, and said, "But it's a Hyundai. I've got a good Ford Taurus over there that'll last you years. I'll give it to you for a good price." Noticing that the Taurus was several years older than the Hyundai, I passed up the offer.
Through the years, I've found out very little about him. One of the few things he's said to me was, "Some people sing in the choir; I get greasy." He views his service as a mechanic to be service to the Lord, and it is. He's blessed us many times with his honesty, fair prices, and quick response. It was no different this time.
When I got there, Harry stepped aside from the other cars he was working on to take a look. After a quick assessment, he went to the back his garage, rummaged around a bit, and came back with various tools and gadgets. Within about 20 minutes, he had a new clamp on my battery, and everything worked great. He turned aside to gather his things, and I waited so we could go to the office for payment. After a few awkward moments, he looked up and mumbled, "You're welcome" in a way that said, "There's nothing left to do. Go on about your business." I tried to insist, but he refused payment.
As for the battery itself, it turns out it's the original battery, now 5 years old. Harry cleaned it really well and joked that now that we'd fixed the clamp, the battery will probably go out. But I heard him mutter under his breath, "Huh...that's a good battery...a Hyundai battery...huh!"
I made it back to my meeting in under an hour, with a car that would start and a mind much more at ease. Hooray for Harry!!
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