What Did She Say

My mind is always open

I had the pleasure of spending about two hours with Murray, the owner of a towing company.

My van got a flat on the way home. In the not-quite-middle of nowhere. And now, before you get all “Geez woman! Can’t you change a flat?” and go all judgy… The spare tire was brilliantly designed to go under the van. At the back. Where all the crap gets thrown at it from the road. Including salt. For the last twelve years. We just bought this van about four months ago. By the look of the completely rusted spare tire rim and hangy thingies (technical term), it’s never been removed from its resting place.

It really couldn’t have been a better flat tire experience. I was on my own without the kids. SO happy they weren’t with me. It was a GORGEOUS Canada Day out. Just beautiful weather. It was still about an hour and a half from getting dark when I broke down. And I have CAA Plus. SO worth it to upgrade from standard to plus for the additional tow range – from 5km to 200km. Saved me tonight.

things I learned from my tow truck driver, words of wisdom from my tow truck driver

And the tow truck driver was a really nice, chatty, true small town guy. He is kind, but don’t push him. He is fair, but doesn’t take any bullshit.

We talked for the whole time our worlds collided and I whittled out some wisdom from Murray.

When you’re out driving, especially in the countryside, please know where you are at all times. If you break down you need to be able to tell the dispatch/call centre where you are. And if you’re not sure where you are when you break down, take a little walk to the nearest laneway and look at the 911 number. That emergency number should be on a green sign and will help them to find you as quickly as possible. “Somewhere in Perth County” isn’t helpful. It’s especially important to know what highway or county road you’re on. Be aware of what towns, villages or hamlets you’ve passed through. Stay alert.

If you do break down on the side of the road, stay to the side of the vehicle that is away from the road. Don’t fiddle with things on the road side of the vehicle.  Don’t stand there and talk on your cell phone beside the vehicle. Don’t stand in front or behind your vehicle. He’s seen too many people hurt standing between the car and the road.

Call a professional. Don’t call a friend to help you out if you’re fixing a tire or something. It’s best to leave it up to someone who knows what they’re doing. He said, this is mainly because of the point above. People forget they are beside a road sometimes. People are hurt and killed this way too often. And then after they attempt to fix it and finally call a tow truck, he feels like he’s herding people and babysitting instead.

Focus on the task at hand. If you are driving, BE the driver. I mentioned I had put on my four-ways, opened the back hatch and went and sat across the ditch to be safe. (A side note. Not staying in the vehicle at the side of the road is a warning the Brits receive. People may not be focused and may not realize your car is not moving until it is too late and plow into the back of it.) I told Murray you never know when a drunk driver may come along, especially on a nice, long weekend evening. He said he wasn’t that worried about drunk drivers. He sees way more accidents and fatalities from people texting or talking behind the wheel. It’s never worth it. Pull over if you need to take your eyes off the road.

Don’t be an ass. These guys are doing their best to get you on their way as fast as they can. They may even turn a blind eye if you need a tow due to a suspended license or something (which, by the way, is not covered under most roadside assistance programs, since it’s an illegal act.) If you’re a jackhole about getting pulled over and needing a tow and take it out on the tow truck driver, they may just play it by the book and charge you the $160 – or whatever – it might take to tow you where you need to go. If you don’t play victim and play nice, you may get the tow truck driver to look the other way and let you put it through on your roadside assistance program.

Don’t be an ass. It’s possible you could be wrong. This one goes back to knowing where you are. He relayed one story of a guy who was adamant he was just past a small town called Clinton and was partly the way to Seaforth – the next town up the highway. Murray dispatched one of his guys. His driver drove up the road and got to the next town and couldn’t find the caller. He called Murray, Murray called the guy and the guy was absolutely sure he was where he said he was and the driver must have gone right past him. Murray told his driver to drive the road again between Clinton and Seaforth. Still no broken down guy. He called Murray, Murray called the guy and the guy was completely pissed off now. The driver MUST have missed him again! Murray asked if he could possibly be on a different road or farther up than he thought. Nope. Broken down guy was right – and getting rude. Broken down guy was now so pissed off he called back his roadside program and complained. They called Murray. Murray called his driver again. He told him to drive farther up the road, go past Seaforth and drive to the next town or even the one after that. Whatever floated his boat. So, his driver did just that. And found broken down guy. At least 20 miles up the road from where he adamantly swore he was. The driver told broken down guy that town off in the distance was Mitchell, not Seaforth. Broken down guy ripped a strip off the driver. The driver then talked to Murray and Murray wanted to talk to broken down guy in person, so Murray made a special trip just to see him. Murray gave broken down guy a piece of him mind and told him where he could go and what he could do when he got there. Grumpy asshat broken down guy got in with the tow truck driver and they started to drive. When they reached the next town limit, the driver pointed at the sign and asked broken down guy what it said. The sign said, “Mitchell”. Broken down guy admitted he had been talking on his phone and may have lost track of where he was as he was driving, then didn’t say another word all the way to Toronto. A two-hour drive.

Let your children fight some of their own battles. Murray would like it if parents didn’t step in and coddle their kids every step of the way. He related a story about an employee who was a bright, nice kid, but was a real clockwatcher. Made sure he wasn’t late for lunch – ever – and watched the clock to make sure he was out the door before the clock hit five. Wouldn’t want to stay even a second past working hours by accident. One day this kid had messed up the same thing a number of times and Murray had had it. He let the kid know he wasn’t pleased with his employee’s performance. The next day the kid had his dad come in with him to hold his hand while he quit his job.

Tell your wife (or husband) if you think a story could bite you in the ass. (Remember this is small town, so ass-biting stories travel fast.) One day Murray was called to help a young lady. She scraped together all the money she had, which was about 9 or 10 dollars. Murray gave her a tow for that and she gave him a hug on the side of the road. Smart Murray called his wife letting her know right away. “If you hear that a young lady was hugging me on the side of the road, it’s absolutely true.”

Your happiness is worth more than all the money in the world. If you have a job that is sucking the life out of you, quit and find something more fulfilling. Murray loves what he does, even though since he’s the owner he’s on call 24/7.

And the world truly is a small place. Murray’s wife used to work with my dad.

Thanks for the company tonight, Murray. Thanks for not being grumpy you were working so much on Canada Day – which apparently is fairly rare. Canada Day is usually much quieter in rural Ontario. And I hope you get to enjoy some long weekend.

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Categories: Home - Slideshow, Rant

4 Responses so far.

  1. Jen says:

    Glad Murray could come through for you and great advice for everyone.
    PS: I hope “Broken Down Guy” finds himself reading this! Too funny. 🙂

    • Jacki says:

      That would be funny. I told Murray I should do a post on things he wants people to know. Wonder what he’d think of this post. 🙂

  2. Glad your story had a happy ending. I’ve never had a flat tire (knock wood) and hopefully, I never will but, if I do, I’ll know what to do now besides starting to cry.


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