An Unexepected Twist at the Walmart Auto Shop
I went to get the oil changed in Wal-Mart on my 1989 JEEP.
After changing the oil, in a maneuver that reminded me of a Three Stooges short, the technicians “bumped” some wires and the car wouldn’t start.
“Look, I brought my car in here to get it fixed and now it’s in worse condition,” I said to the department manager.
“I’m not sure what happened. Some wires came loose durning the procedure,” he replied.
“That’s funny because there are not even any wires near the oil drain or where you pour it in.”
“”There’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll push your car outside.”
I called AAA for a tow truck to haul the JEEP back home.
My Image of a Tow Truck Driver – Revised
My mental image of tow truck driver is a guy with grease on his clothes, reeks of cigarettes smoke, and spews f-bombs. I expected to see Jonathan Winters from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Notwithstanding my stereotype, the AAA tow truck driver turned out to be a clean-cut guy named Steve.
I sat in the cab as he towed my car away.
“How’s it going?” I asked.
“Not bad, except I got four jobs just before I got off work at 5:00. I guess I’ll be working late again. It doesn’t bother me though because when I work these extra hours, I feel like I’m building up a lot of good karma.
Yesterday they sent me to west Ajo Road instead of east Ajo Road, so I had to travel an extra 15 miles to get to the right place. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”
He stretched out his words in a slow-burn, mock-angry way. He smiled as he spoke. He didn’t seem to take his predicament too seriously.
The Impersonal Observer
I was struck by how Steve accepted adversity without allowing it to penetrate his cheerful personality. He took the attitude that, yes, bad things were happening to him, but he was like an impersonal observer watching the action from a distance. This let him to take a philosophical perspective and to transform his misery into humor, not unlike Larry Talbot/The Wolf Man on a full moon.
Giant Sea Turtles
Steve’s’ attitude reminded me of an experience I had as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. One time, I took a group of kids from my school to watch the giant sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs in the sand. It was the wee hours of the morning and we got lost on the way to the beach. Yet, I just acted like it was a fun educational side trip that I had planned all along.
And, guess what?
That’s what it turned out to be.
When things don’t go the way I expect, I’ll take it with a smile and I’ll remember that “a light heart lives long.”
These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.
Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.
Nov. 13, 2015. “Once Upon A Time: Inspire and engage your audience with stories.” Present Like a Pro Conference. Desert Diamond Casino. Tucson, Arizona.
Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.
Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.
Tags: AAA, Abraham Lincoln Story Telling, Abraham Lincoln storytelling, eureka moment, eureka moments, giant sea turtles, good karma, impersonal observer, inspire, It's a Mad Mad Mad World, Jonathan Winters, life lesson, life lessons, Peace Corps Honduras, Present Like a Pro - Arizona Conference, Punta Raton, stories, storytelling, take setbacks with a smile, Terry Sprouse, Three Stooges, TMOY, tow truck driver, transform frustration into humor