Monday, December 27, 2010

Chapter 3: Enterprise will pick you up . . . eventually

The accident happened sometime after 9:00 am.  We arrived at Santa Clarita City Towing around 10:00-ish.  Heath spent some time on the phone with our insurance company and then talking to Enterprise for a rental to get home.  Enterprise told Heath they would send someone out to get us in 30-40 minutes.  An hour and a half later some guy sped in driving a Dodge Charger.

The tow guys were very upset with how fast the guy was driving in and squealing to a stop.  Heath was furious that the guy showed up in a small car when he had specifically said there are five of us and we have a lot of cargo to transport to the Bay Area.  Heath looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry.  Enterprise will hear from me.  I’ll be back as fast as I can.”  All I could do was let him go. 

I was tired of trying to entertain my kids at the tow place.  The two guys working that day were awesome though.  They both have kids so they were extremely patient with ours.  They gave the kids paper and pens to draw with and otter pops to eat.  They talked with us as we waited forever for Enterprise to show up.  They were the nicest guys. 

I’m a very skeptical person and I tend to be very defensive until I feel like someone is nice.  I should just give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they are nice until they prove otherwise.  So I was pleasantly surprised that these guys were so wonderful.  I guess I tend to have an Adventures in Babysitting reaction to tow truck drivers.  Rick, the guy who drove us from the scene, said he didn’t mind being called in on Christmas Eve.  He said as long as he knows he’s helping someone he’s happy.  He does the job to help people.  That really impressed me.  Then for him to go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of our family and help entertain our kids, I was very impressed.  So if you ever happen to pass through Castaic, CA think of the guys at Santa Clarita City Towing and what angels of mercy they are to those in need. 

Enterprise was a 10 minute drive away so it took Heath about 45 minutes or so to get something for our family to drive home in.  He pulled up in a Dodge pickup truck and he was mad.  Enterprise would not give us a minivan or SUV even though they had them in the lot.  Heath thinks it’s because they knew we weren’t going to drop it off back in Valencia.  To top it off someone had smoked in the truck.  The Enterprise guy sprayed air freshener and sent Heath on his way.  Today it smells like cigarette smoke.  I know people who smoke and I don’t think they are bad people but it’s against the rules to smoke in a rental car.  It was the cherry on top of a really rotten day. 

Heath strategically packed our stuff in the back of the truck so it wouldn’t fly out while we tried to find a tarp or something to hold it all down for our five hour drive home.  We squeezed the kids into the extended cab.  Gavin had to sit without a booster seat with the seatbelt cutting into the side of his neck because he wasn’t tall enough for it to sit where it’s supposed to.  That was pretty irritating considering we were just in an accident and grateful as could be that our kids were properly strapped into car seats and booster seats.  Now we had to drive home completely cramped and hope nothing happened to make Gavin fly through the windshield. 

Heath found a dollar store and bought nylon clothesline and a vinyl drop cloth for a dollar each.  We had no idea where to go for a tarp.  The drop cloth was worthless so he ran the clothesline through anything he was afraid might fly out.  His arms are all cut up and bruised.  He made me laugh when he said he looks like he tried to commit suicide with a spoon.  Heath was dealing with securing our stuff while I had the kids inside the same McDonald’s we had picked up breakfast from that morning.  We were eating lunch at 2:00 pm.  I got Heath’s food to go and we were on our way.  We were so grateful the rain had stopped.  It was a tense drive to Disneyland in the downpour and three days at Disneyland in steady rain before it let up for the final day. 

When we got home Heath got an email from Enterprise saying they would contact us within 24 hours to exchange the truck.  With the holiday we have not heard from them.  We did get an email from our insurance company saying we are at fault for the accident according to CA law.  Heath replied to that with his side of the story.  All we can do now is hope the Mustang driver was honest that he passed us on the right taking away our reaction time to safely stop or maneuver out of the situation. 

It took quite a while after the accident for me to realize my chest hurt.  CHP kept asking people if they needed to call an ambulance and we all said we were fine.  The pain became more intense as the day went on.  Gwen was no help as I had to pick her up a lot at the towing place.  I had a horrible aching pain straight down the middle of my chest down into my abdomen where it felt like I had been punched hard in the gut.  Heath’s back and chest hurt as well.  Unfortunately for him he still has some pain.  He also thinks he hit his airbag because his face hurt that day.  I know I didn’t touch my airbag.  By the way, airbags really smell.  Like something nasty burning. 

I took ibuprofen before bed on Friday and by the next morning my chest was fine.  I have some discomfort in my left shoulder that may be from whiplash but for the most part I hardly notice anything.  I do have a faint bruise on my chest from the seatbelt.  That kind of makes me mad too.  I mean, if you’re going to be involved in an accident at least have something to show for it other than worry!  I was in a bad accident when I was 18.  It made me mad at the time because it ruined my record of never being in an accident and never breaking a bone.  I took consolation in the fact that I broke my humorous, the second hardest bone in the body to break.  I also broke my back and had stitches in my ear and spent four days in the hospital on a Morphine drip.  That made the whole experience worth the effort!  If you’re going to get hurt go all out and get hurt already! 

If you’re looking for a car rental company the employees at Enterprise were less than professional and arrogant jerks.  I love that the tag on the keyring says they put the customer first.  Yeah, unless you are driving over 230 miles away on Christmas Eve.  In that case they’ll give you a vehicle completely inappropriate to your needs after they smoke in it first.  Hopefully the people here are nicer.  The guys at Santa Clarita City Towing get nothing but praise and respect from us.  They were fabulous and I’m looking forward to sending them a thank you card. 

2 thoughts:

Becca Jane said...

Tristan,
I'm so sorry you had an accident during the Holidays!! I'm so relieved everyone is okay and it wasn't worse!!!

The Piquant Storyteller said...

Thanks Becca. Me too! By the way, our van is a total loss so we will have to do some car shopping as soon as we get the check.

Did you get my email about the Tinkerbell swimming suit?