Sunday, October 9, 2011
There's a running joke in my family about my mom. Every time she drives to Utah, something goes wrong.
The first time she came, last year when Nick and I moved, she was driving my car, and Nick was driving the moving truck. Towards the end of the trip we were separated. Mom and I ended up in nearby Cottonwood Heights, while my brother-in-law guided Nick into Sandy.
When she came for Christmas, she took the train, so there were no problems.
Mom came to visit us during the 4th of July weekend this past July. Again, she ended up in Cottonwood Heights. That has also become a joke: we believe she will eventually live there since she seems so drawn to it!!
Friday night mom moved from California. We thought it wouldn't happen until after she retired, but life has a funny way of turning the tables on you and pushing you the direction you need to be going. My brother-in-law, (BIL for short) took the train to California to help mom pack up, and drive the truck. She rented a trailer for her car to be pulled on, and they were on the road by 8pm California time.
All was going well until 4:15am Saturday morning. In the middle of NOWHERE, 30 miles out of a town called Winnemucca, they had only five hours left til they would arrive. Mom was driving and felt the truck jerk. A few minutes later she looked out the rear view mirror and noticed sparks coming up from behind the trailer. One of the tires on the trailer had not only blown, but was smoking and completely turning into tar.
She called the truck company and they told her it would be 2 HOURS before they could get someone out to them. Mom asked if she could just take the car off the trailer and leave the trailer behind. She could, but it would be considered abandoning the trailer and she'd be liable for it if anything happened. They decided to wait.
2 hours comes and goes......and no one comes to fix the tire. She calls back again. Apparently the truck company had two other trucks with problems and instead of making it clear that there was now a THIRD truck, they accidentally told the tire company it was only two trucks. The tire guy had already fixed one truck and left. It would be another two hours.
Four hours pass and a Highway Patrol Officer notices their truck and stops to find out if they're ok. They tell them the situation and he lets them know that he will drive past again in about two hours to see if they're still there. I would've thought he could do more, being a Highway Patrol Officer, oh well.
Now six hours into the mess, the tire guy shows up to fix the trailer. He takes one look at it and realizes there is no fixing it. (Yeah, I think my mom and BIL had already tried to tell the "powers that be" all about that!) The truck company is called back and they have the NERVE to actually tell my mom that they have to stay with the truck until sometime SUNDAY before they can get another person to them! The lady on the phone tells the tire guy to just leave them there in the middle on nowhere. Oh, and by this time both of their cell phones have died.
The tire guy gets involved asking to talk to the person in charge of the truck company. He explains that HE WILL NOT leave them there with this truck, stranded. They are finally told that they can leave the trailer and that my mom won't be held responsible for it. Gee, didn't mom try to do that 7 HOURS AGO?!?
So then my BIL gets into mom's car to drive it off the trailer. The tire guy immediately notices that the trailer the company gave mom is too big for her car, and that if she drives it off, it will probably damage the undercarriage of her car. They continued to drive it off, and it made a lot of noise on its way down....something was probably damaged.
After spending nearly 7 hours stranded, waiting for a company that claims to provide 24/7 roadside assistance, they finally got back on the road. Five hours later, they arrived.
There are so many things wrong with this situation. When mom first called in to report the problem, they were more concerned with the condition of the truck than the people who were in it. They NEVER asked how they were doing; if they had food and water, etc. The company screwed up the maintainence order and they had to wait 5 hours for someone to arrive. After discovering it couldn't be fixed, they had the NERVE to try and tell mom she had to stay with the truck until who knows when on Sunday, without a cell phone, in the middle of nowhere! And during one point in this mess it was also discovered that the trailer the company rented to my mom was NEVER SUPPOSED TO LEAVE THE YARD! It's a PIECE OF JUNK and had problems to begin with! Gee, you think?!? We all wondered how it made it out of the yard.....do they not put signs on these things that say "Out of Order", or "Do Not Rent"? Shouldn't they?!?
This company is going to get an ear-full, that much I KNOW. Mom had to spend more money on this trip since she ended up having to gas up her car twice. She will also have to pay to have a mechanic look at her undercarriage, and fix it if any damage was caused driving it off the faulty, too large trailer they gave her. We all think she should demand they not even charge her for the truck and trailer at all.
We are all grateful that mom and my BIL were together. It helped keep both of them calm, thinking clearly, and continued to help pass the time while they were stranded. The situation could always have been worse, but it was ridiculous enough as it was.
But they made it, and now mom is onto new adventures in Utah. We are so excited that she's here!
To be continued......