Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to all . . .

Dorothy's Christmas Village.
Allow me to tell you a 2014 Christmas story . . .
It was the afternoon of Dec. 8.
Dorothy, aka Wonder Woman, was undergoing some tests at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.
I was doing some Christmas shopping at Aberdeen Mall.
Upon arrival, I pulled into a parking spot on the mall’s south side. I wandered the mall for about 90 minutes, stopped for coffee in the food court, then decided to return to our car.
As I walked toward it, I noticed a woman preparing to get into the passenger side of a car parked beside it. But something told me she was standing further from our car than she should have been.
Upon further review, it was evident that our car was in the spot at about a 35-degree angle.
“Hmm,” I thought, “I don’t remember parking like that.”
Puzzled, I got into the car and started it. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I hadn’t parked like that. So I got out and did a walk-around.
Sure enough. The right front corner had been drilled. Hard. There was hole right through the bumper. The headlight assembly was out of whack, with the headlight now pointing down and to the right. There also was a huge scratch across it. Clips that hold the quarter panel to the bumper were broken, so the panel was hanging loose. There was a hole in the black guard over the tire in the wheel well.
I looked around at cars parked near me, but there was nothing that pointed to anything. The woman beside me asked if something was wrong. I told her someone had hit the car but that there wasn’t much I could do about it.
There wasn’t a note on the windshield. Nothing. Which meant that I would be on the hook for the insurance deductible.
You’re right. I was not a happy Christmas shopper.
Later, upon arriving home, I called ICBC (for non-Left Coasters, that is the Insurance Corporation of B.C.). Because it was a hit-and-run, it had to be phoned in; it couldn’t be dealt with via the Internet.
The pleasant voice on the other end of the phone led me through the procedure, starting a claim file and asking all of the right questions. Near the end, she said she would place me on hold while she checked to see if anyone had called it in.
I have a feeling that she could feel my scepticism bubbling as she assured me that sometimes happens.
Moments later, she was back.
“I have some good news for you,” she said.
Indeed, a woman had called ICBC to report that she had hit two cars in the mall parking lot, one of those being mine. In calling, she apparently said that she had neither pen nor paper so wasn’t able to leave notes on the cars involved.
Suddenly, the day had gotten a whole lot brighter even though darkness had long since settled over the South Thompson River valley. Yes, there are people out there who will do the right thing.
Our car has since been in for an estimate -- at least $2,500 and likely more once they take the bumper, headlight assembly and quarter panel off -- and repairs will take place starting on Jan. 19.
In the meantime, we are able to drive it, although I wouldn’t think about taking it over the Coquihalla Highway to Vancouver.
So if you see a car coming your way with a headlight pointing down and to the right, feel free to wave.
In the meantime, may the spirit of Christmas shine on you and yours.
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From the Dec. 25, 1986 edition of the Los Angeles Times comes another wonderful Christmas column. This one, by Al Martinez, is all about a little boy, a city editor and some peaches. . . . It’s right here.
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