Opinion Columns & Blogs

Foreboding feeling about nasty car sound turns into an experience that brings a smile

As you make your way through today’s newspaper, there’s a pretty good chance that your mood is growing steadily worse as you turn the pages. With the exception of the comics and possibly the sports section (depending on how your favorite team fared in its last game) most of the news that you’ll read in today’s paper is probably pretty depressing.

For as long as people have been reporting news in any format it’s been true that the things that are considered to be newsworthy are usually the worst things that happen to us. And the bigger the tragedy, the bigger the story. Things like mass murders, natural disasters and consistently bad behavior by our most powerful leaders compete for headlines in a never-ending spiral of sadness.

Those of us who write opinion columns often maintain that dark tone, and I’m no exception. A large percentage of my columns consist of me complaining about something that irks me and criticizing the people who I think are responsible for some messed up situation.

I thought I’d take a different tack this time out. Something good happened to me over the long Labor Day weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you and maybe provide a little counterbalance to all the negativity you’ll see in the rest of today’s paper.

It was late Friday afternoon when I started to back my car out of my driveway and heard this awful dragging sound coming from underneath it. I got out and got down on the ground to took a look, and sure enough a piece of the car was hanging loose and touching the ground. I tried to get underneath to get a better look, but I drive a Prius and they are very low to the ground, so I really couldn’t see what had happened.

At that point it was after 4 p.m., and I wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to take a look at it that late in the day without an appointment. But Lowe Toyota in Warner Robins is pretty close to my house, so I looked online and found that its service department didn’t close until 5 p.m. I decided to take a chance and drive over there, very slowly and carefully.

Someone came out to greet me as soon as I drove up, and they took a look under the car and said they could take care of it. It was a huge relief. I could tell everyone there was busy trying to wrap things up so they could get out of there and enjoy the long weekend, but they squeezed me in without an appointment and they were very polite about it.

My next concern, as you might guess, was how much this emergency repair was going to cost me. Car dealerships have a reputation for being pretty expensive when it comes to service work, and though this seemed like a simple issue I had no way of knowing what the damage to my wallet was going to be.

It turned out I was worried for nothing. They charged me a grand total of $8.86 to cover the cost of the replacing the clips that hold that little cover in place and that was it. I was in and out of there in under 45 minutes and left with a big smile on my face.

I shared this story with you for two reasons. One is I just wanted to give a shout out to the folks at the Lowe Toyota service department for their excellent customer service, something that we don’t seem to see much these days.

I also wanted to give you a small reminder that despite all the conflict and tragedy we hear about every day, there are still good people in this world doing good things. The good news stories are usually small and personal like the one I just shared, and they don’t grab headlines. But they matter. A lot.

Bill Ferguson is a resident of Warner Robins. Readers can write him at fergcolumn@hotmail.com.