PR for People Monthly MAY 2017 - Page 35

My car was at an angle that was too sharp for me to move in the opposite direction or to easily pull back into the parking space because they were now in the middle of the lane, blocking my way. Hearing me and seeing that I couldn’t escape, they then hit the gas and hit me. I called the police, but they only filed an “accident report” instead of filing criminal charges for assault with a deadly weapon (the van). I then had extreme difficulty finding an auto mechanic willing to work on fixing the car before Chandler Collision in Warner Robins finally agreed to do it, charging $679.49 for the work, of which I had to pay a $250 deductible. Nationwide Enterprise insurance had procrastinated the fix for so long, that it was 10/3 when Chandler finally started working on the car. I had been driving it to work all this time, and it was perfectly drivable, with only surface damages on the front bumper. I picked up the car on 10/5, and took it across the road to Jiffy Lube to have them do a full checkup on the car because it had been emitting some strange smells and making strange noises in the interim since the accident, which the insurance company did not recognize as accident-related. Jiffy Lube diagnosed the car as needing oil, an oil filter, a pcv valve, tire rotation, radiator flush & fill service, and anti-freeze coolant, at a total of $147.67. When all this was done, I started the drive back from Warner Robins to Cochran. Immediately after I took the turn between route 96 and 129, my car started smoking and rattling. I stopped, pulled over and called Jiffy Lube for an explanation. One of them drove out to the spot and inspected my car, saying that the radiator had failed. So, I had my car towed back to Jiffy Lube ($65) for them to put in a new radiator, which they got from Advance Auto Parts for $80. I saw them yanking out my old, rusted radiator and shoving in this new radiator with hardly another check or preparation. I later learned that a radiator change is a very delicate procedure, which if done incorrectly is likely to cause a bleed into the engine. And this is exactly what happened. Just before closing, Jiffy Lube surrendered my car back to me, saying that it was now fully fixed. I heard the same slight clanking noise I heard before, but hoped for the best in the first 14 minutes, or so, of the trip, before the car once again started smoking and collapsed at the identical spot at the 96 and 129 intersection. The duplication of the point of catastrophic failure suggested that the car must’ve been deliberately broken before my first departure. The less conspiracy-theory explanation was that the radiator flush cannot be performed on an extremely old radiator that might have 178,490 miles on it in a used car (for which the operator does not know its earlier maintenance history); a new radiator should’ve been put in to begin with, and this should’ve been done by a professional company and not by somebody that specializes in oil changes. The second failure happened late in the evening, after Jiffy Lube was closed. I called AAA (from which I unsubscribed at that point and never used again) a dozen times, and spoke with the towing service as many times (all the while waiting alone at the side of the semi-highway) before they finally came out and towed me ($47.50) now to a junk yard in Cochran (I no longer had hope that Jiffy Lube could fix this problem). By the time I got home, it was around 3am on Thursday, when I had to teach an 8am class, in a few hours. I had to take a taxi to work ($200 in extra expenses, together with later needing to buy a whole brand new car) in the following weeks because I was in limbo and thought somebody might still pay to put in a new engine into my old car.

Damages to my car after the initial incident outside Target on August 28