Hi, Girlfriends. After enduring twenty hours stranded on the side of the road, AireInn was finally being towed!
That was the good news.
But our new reality was this; it was a twenty-two-mile drive to Freightliner. My need-to-control-this-massive-towing-job-and-yet-avoid-any-more-stress was in overdrive as we followed behind in the Jeep.
My palms oozed sweat as I anticipated each turn, bump, and lane change. We eventually arrived at Freightliner in Elkton, Maryland, and were greeted by Chris, the Manager who was expecting us.
Assessing the damage
Keith, their top mechanic, was assigned to crawl under AireInn and assess the damage. After taking eighty-five photos, this Sherlock-Holmes-of-RV-damage found the smoking gun.
Here is a picture of the drive shaft of our radiator fan.
It had sheared off – causing a chain reaction of other parts and belts to snap, crackle, pop, and bounce onto Route 222.
Upon inspection, Keith noted the four lubrication ports on this drive shaft were completely dry. It was obvious they had not been greased for quite some time because rust had formed on the joints. Per his request, we presented our maintenance records from the past forty-eight months- proving that AireInn had been regularly serviced every twelve months.
Each of those invoices had “lube completed” checked off!
In fact, just twenty-four days earlier, we had an oil change and lube in Tucson, Arizona at Freightliner. Armed with our invoices and proof of regular maintenance, we fully expected Freightliner to take responsibility for the costs of our repairs.
No such luck.
Persistence and patience
Initially, Freightliner of Tucson attempted to deny responsibility because the 2016 oil change was at Speedco (and chances are Speedco didn’t grease those joints either).
After a week of phone calls, we politely – but insistently escalated our grievance to the President of the Velocity Vehicle Group (owner of the Freightliner dealer in Tucson).
He listened to our complaint and eventually agreed to cover $4000 of the over $10,000 repair. Gee thanks….but OUCH! And this is where we spent our eight-year wedding anniversary on May 11th. The next night we treated ourselves to the best crab chowder in Maryland at the Chesapeake Inn. We needed this two-hour respite. Donuts never hurt
Now it was May 17th when the mechanics at Elkton Freightliner completed our engine repairs. The manager, Chris, and his team had bent over backward to make our stay as pleasant as possible- and it wasn’t just because we brought them donuts (although donuts are always appreciated!).
Speaking of donuts, I will interject that John and I generally choose to face conflict with honey rather than vinegar. It has served us well.
As my dear friend Linda Best always says…don’t use naughty words, don’t raise your voice, and all will work out.
It was apparent that customer service was a priority at the Elkton Freightliner. We cannot say enough good things about Chris and his team of mechanics and are grateful for their professional service.
Back to Bozo
With that work completed, we turned our attention to AireInn’s front end damage. You probably already read my blow-by-blow account about Chuck-the-Bozo-Wrecker-Driver.
As I mentioned in Part One Lennie, the owner of the tow company, had given his word to pay for damage inflicted by his incompetent driver. Lennie came through. He took full responsibility for our front-end damage and worked closely with us to make sure AireInn got the best bodywork available in the area.
John drove AireInn to B & G Auto Body in Newark, Delaware and was greeted by Ed, the shop Foreman.
Little but Mighty
He only stood about five-foot two-inches and maybe weighed a buck-fifteen but this man’s repair reputation towered above his vertical limits.
It was obvious that Ed loved a challenge.
His face lit up as we discussed the details and extent of the damage. We knew AireInn was in good hands. Here is a photo of two mechanics inspecting the damage to our generator tray.
It took B & G about two weeks to complete the work on AireInn’s front end. The work ended up costing Lennie’s insurance company around $7000. What did we pay?
An even bigger blessing
Thank you, Lennie, for coming through for us. Before I sign off I’ve got to share the biggest blessing that came out of this Fall-Out-Mis-Adventure.
You may recall my blog explanation for driving to the Philadelphia area. My son’s health issues had escalated during the past year and this mama bear needed to be close to him.
Shortly after we arrived, AND COINCIDENTALLY, the SAME DAY of our breakdown, the electric motor in my son’s recliner BROKE DOWN, necessitating a change in his situation (I won’t share the details) and more help with his care. Plus, we were now “homeless”.
It was a win-win situation.
My son let us stay in his guest room for almost four weeks while AireInn was getting repaired, and we were able to assist my son with the transition needed for his increased care needs. Yup. God is fully present in coincidences. No doubt in my mind.
And THAT, Girlfriends and Guy friends, is the end of my saga…Things I’ve learned from this stranger-than-fiction-story?
- Laughter helps when my palms are sweating.
- Linda Best’s advice is true: naughty words get you nowhere.
- Never underestimate the power of donuts.
- I will ask to see the grease ports heretofore after maintenance appointments.
- I will always take pictures and copious notes when in a crisis.
- I will keep ALL paperwork on AireInn’s maintenance.
- I will always recognize when God shows up in my messes.
- I won’t count calories when eating Crab Chowder.
Ok. I shared my story, now it’s your turn. Please take a moment to share your FALLOUT story with me in the comments below.
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Your Unlikely RVer,