Broken Truck Window And Good Samaritans

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A while back, I parked our 1965 Ford F100 in the parking lot of a local business on the loop, with permission, a “For Sale” sign on the windshield. Few folks called. The truck runs great, is mechanically in perfect condition, but doesn’t have power steering or air-conditioning. One young woman, about to get her driver’s license, contacted me. She loved the truck. I asked if she knew how to drive a stick shift and had ever driven a vehicle that didn’t have power steering.

The answer was “no” on both counts. I gently suggested she talk to her dad before proceeding further, figuring he would put the kibosh on her dreams of owning my truck. I would not feel great about putting a 16-year-old behind the wheel of this beast. The buyer needs to have strong arms, know how to use a stick shift, and be willing to sweat. So far, that person has not shown up.

The Saturday before we left for our New Mexico vacation, somebody called, asking if I owned the truck. The caller owns a landscaping company that mows the median near the parking lot where my truck was parked. One of his mowers had kicked up a rock, which had shattered the passenger window of my truck. He was calling to let me know and promised that he would get the window fixed.

I was stunned. How often does that happen? Maybe I’m too cynical, but when this happens in a parking lot, the miscreant usually disappears, leaving the owner to foot the bill. I profusely thanked the man for his honesty and drove out to take a look. The window was shattered but intact, with a small hole. It looked like a small-caliber bullet hole. I hid a key so the glass company could replace the window.

We left for New Mexico the next morning. My cellphone, whose number was on the “For Sale” sign, began ringing. Folks were driving by, noticing the shattered window, and calling to make sure I knew about it. Nobody wanted to buy the truck, but all were concerned that someone had tried to break in, or committed an act of criminal mischief. I explained what had actually occurred and thanked them for calling.

The calls continued throughout our vacation. The landscape company owner kept me informed, which was reassuring. A few days passed with more calls, most going to voicemail since we rarely had cell service. I would catch up at dinner in town, usually texting callers to thank them for their concern and explaining what happened. When someone from the Longview Police Department left a message, believing the broken window was an attempted vehicle burglary, I called back and explained what happened.

Finding an original window for a 1965 Ford F100 was proving difficult. The calls kept piling up in my voicemail box, East Texas neighbors reaching out to a stranger. None of these people knew me, but all just wanted to make sure I knew what had happened. Most assumed it was vandalism or burglary, some beginning their message with a version of, “Some scumbag…”

We returned a week later. As soon as the car was unloaded, I hitched a ride with our daughter to the truck’s location. By then, after a thunderstorm, the shattered glass had collapsed. Unasked, the landscape owner came by and taped a piece of plastic over it to keep out the rain. I drove the truck home and texted him our address for the glass company. A few days after we got home, a glass company worker arrived with an original Ford window. He cleaned up the glass debris and efficiently installed a new window, invited me to make sure it rolled up and down smoothly.

I texted the landscape owner — this honest fellow who did the right thing —and thanked him again. I offered to buy him lunch, and he demurred, saying he ought to be the one to buy. We still haven’t made a date, but I will. And I’m buying.

I also appreciate those folks who took the time to call, to show concern. Meanwhile, the truck is still for sale, but it is staying in the driveway. You know where to find me if you’re interested.

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