Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Had an interesting encounter this morning. After dropping the kids off at school I came across a small truck sitting dead at a stop sign. Figured I'd see what I could do.

I got out and walked up to the truck and sked the girl driving it if I could help. She told me she's had trouble starting it, and now it had stalled and she couldn't get it started. My first thought was that the alternator croaked and she had a dead battery. The cross road had a nice downhill slope to the right, so I considered shoving it down the hill and push starting it. Of course that only works with manual transmissions, so I asked her if she had a manual or automatic transmission. She told me she didn't know.

300 million people in this country and I manage to find the only one who doesn't know whether she's driving a manual or an automatic. I looked at the floor and there was a clutch pedal--sort of a giveaway. I said "You know that stick thingy you move around? That's a manual transmission". "Oh".

She turned the key at that point and the engine cranked, so the alternator theory went out the window. She just wasn't getting fuel. After she cranked it a few more times I told her I could either pull her back into the parking lot or push her down the hill where she could pull over to the curb. She opted for the second choice, so I gave her a push. While I stood there yelling "Turn, turn", she went straight across the road and onto a sidewalk at the middle school.

I ran across the road and she told me she couldn't turn the steering wheel. Sigh. "Turn the key on so the steering wheel lock disengages". "Oh".

At that point she turned the key all the way and the engine finally decided to fire. I left, but not without misgivings--Some people simply shouldn't be allowed access to motor vehicles.

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