Dead Van Running



Last week I pulled into a gas station from out of town to, obviously, get gas.  I filled it up, (ie put $20 in as it would have cost $100 to really fill it!)  Because this station had super cheap gas, a line quickly formed behind me. I started the van up and tried to shift into “drive”.  The shifter did not move!  I tried again, and again and again as the line of cars behind me now flowed out onto the street.  IT WOULD NOT SHIFT!  The car was running smoothly, it had plenty of gas, and yet it would not move.  I was highly embarrassed now, as the cars started honking at me.  However, as it my usual good fortune, this particular gas station was associated with an auto repair business.  I ran in and got the mechanic, who took a look at the line of cars, and tried not to smile.  I am sure he thought I was just incompetent, and he cockily climbed into the drivers seat and grabbed hold of the shifter, but it would not budge for him either.  There were only 2 ways to get my van out of the way…have it towed, (which we all know would be another disaster,) or having him climb underneath my running van and by hand shift the gear into drive, crawling out before it started moving.  In other words, a death defying trick.  Being the brave man that he was, he choose the latter option.  As he crawled under the van, he told me that no matter what I do, DO NOT STEP ON THE GAS UNTIL HE TELLS ME TO.  I don’t think I have ever been so scared in my life.  My little old, nervous, shaking foot on that break pedal was the only thing between this man and death!  He shifted it quickly and rolled out, telling me to “Go!  Go!” which I did at a breakneck speed of about 2 miles per hour.  I made a loop around the gas station, coming to stop at an empty parking spot off to the side.  I put my foot on the break…holding down with all my might.  He crawled back under the van and hand shifted it back into park.  My hero!

Come to find out, the shift gears were so old that they were very rusty and would not move.  He took them apart, sanded them and oiled them, thereby fixing the problem.  When it came time to pay, he said, “That will be eight hundred and seventy-two dollars.” But before I could faint, he started laughing and said he was only teasing…it was only forty-two dollars for his labor.  This man risks his life and it costs me less than $50! I was so relieved that not only was my van fixed, but that it was fixed for a very reasonable price.  Such is my luck in life.  Every time something bad happens, it turns out okay.  I truly am lucky!  (And so was that crazy man who climbed under the car while it was still running!)


Just a reminder…as I am saving up for more reliable transportation, it would be greatly appreciated if you could consider purchasing my book, The Apple Tree:  Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane, which is sold on I-Books, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  I have since learned that some days it is easier to maintain my sanity than others…



Comments on: "Dead Van Running" (32)

  1. There are few things worse than having your car unexpectedly quit for no good reason. Thank goodness you had it die right by an honest mechanic, they’re a rare breed these days(as are gas stations with mechanics).

    Good luck with the new car fund, mine keeps getting used for the fixing the current van fund–but it’s still a good van, and at this rate it’s going to be just like a new van soon(new transmission, new computer, new brake booster, new radiator next week, brand spanking new manifold gaskets, I just wish all the labor was cheaper or I had infinitely more mechanical know-how and patience than I do. As it is, I’ve already sworn off ever trying to change the air filter on my own again, I probably spent more on bandaids than I would have paying someone else to do that one).

  2. Oh my gosh, that was beautiful. I love your storytelling voice. God bless you!

  3. Aren’t old vehicles fun? My Mom and Dad had an old Toyota tercel that is almost as old as I am and they just recently got rid of it, My Mom figured it was cheaper to repair it than pay a car payment.

    I have filed that away in my brain for future reference. We are so strapped right now, but as soon as I have some $$ I would love to buy your book! 🙂

  4. It ended well, but it was funny reading the story! You need to remember that mechanic and Christmas and for every other repair you might need. He’s honest and caring and skilled….do we need anything more when it comes to keeping our vehiciles running?

  5. Hi.

    Oh now I’m getting excited. if your book is available on ibooks, then that means i can read it with voice over.

    going to see if i can find it. I hope it’s available in Australia.

    hugs and blessings.

    regards Maria and crew from australia email: check out where we play lots of great music

  6. My husband has a similar ongoing problem where his car won’t shift into gear, too. However, his is a fuse problem. Now he keeps a pack of fuses in his car and knows which one to change if it happens. We looked at getting the real problem fixed, but it would cost more than the 10 year old car is worth.

    I’m glad the mechanic was able to fix it for you… And so cheap! What a blessing he was and so brave, too!

  7. God brought your beautiful children into your life like he gave you an angel for a mechanic! You deserve ever pieces of luck that comes your way!

  8. Yea!

    I found it.

    very cool!

    regards Maria and crew from australia email: check out where we play lots of great music

  9. I have several vans….all a real pain in the butt and expensive as all get out to fix. Thank goodness you found a great mechanic…a good one is a true blessing in disguise!

  10. Hello! I really liked the post, such a good story!
    The mechanic and his behaviour, he reminds me a bit of of the mechanic in the Way of the Peaceful Warrior (an excellent book which changed my life, highly recommended).
    I will be following your posts, Linda! Thanks for sharing and greetings from Scotland 🙂

    • Thank you so much for joining me. I never knew anyone from Scotland before!

      • I am from Bulgaria actually (a country at the far southeastern corner of Europe, so exactly at the other end of Scotland), but I have lived in Scotland for a few years now.
        You should hear the wind outside at the moment… it is not quite like the extreme winds you get in the U.S. but to make up for it, it is miserable and cold throughout the whole year! I would love to visit the States one day.

  11. SleepyKnitter said:

    That title is too funny! That story is NOT! Scary, scary stuff — I would have had a heart attack if a mechanic had wanted to climb under my car and shift the gears by hand while it was still running. Wow. What a blessing, though, that you and he made it through and that your van’s trouble. What a story!

  12. I’m glad it all worked out. I suspect that, while you were scared, you would have triumphed no matter what. Your writing style is very descriptive!

  13. What a blessing!

  14. You made me laugh – bc I could imagine what that fear was like!!! You held a man’s life in your hands or your foot 🙂 and Thank you for your blog post like and thanks again, for the giggle!

  15. Angels sometime arrive with greasy fingers, tools and bravery.

  16. You are a great storyteller. Thank goodness you had a wonderful mechanic there who helped you.

  17. Wow, I didn’t even know that was possible, to shift a car into gear from below. Sounds like that guy went above and beyond.

  18. I would say both you and the mechanic were truly blessed – and what a great story too! 🙂 I love when the Lord really blesses us and gives us a good story to tell too!

    Many blessings to you,

  19. Wow, great post – the way you wrote it I was really there with you; the embarrassment, the fear, the gratitude and relief. I do believe in luck…but I also believe we create our own by being good luck to others:-)

  20. Love this post. A reminder that there are still good, honest people/strangers…
    Be blessed! 🙂

  21. Great story – been there. It’s mortifying at the time, but good people usually step forward to help. Glad your situation turned out ok. Keep on truckin’.

  22. Wow!! Thank God for his goodness an mercy,what a blessing,that’s just like Jesus to watch over the ones He loves. love you 😀

  23. jamieaaron03 said:

    I haven’t had a ‘reliable’ vehicle since about… 6 years ago, I know how you feel 🙂

  24. Linda, I have been reading some of your posts and this one in particular is great, especially because I have owned and still own a “dead SOMETHING running.” Keep up the great work.

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