Thursday, July 19, 2007

"It's Like Deja Vu' all over again!"

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the Subaru dealer in Jackson had my car finished and ready for pick-up. Mom and I hurriedly packed the T@B and returned the rental car, and began making reservations for somewhere other than Jackson!

Apparently, they had discovered some defective parts in the transmission, and that is what caused the blown gasket. Now that the transmission had been rebuilt, the dealer was confident I was good to go.

We finally pulled out of the KOA in late afternoon and decided to drive straight west over to to Idaho and then head north into Montana and spend the night in Butte. Our drive was uneventful and calm.

The next day's drive would finally take us to Glacier National Park. Because of the delay in Jackson, we no longer had time to get all the way up to Banff, so we decided that at least getting to Glacier would let us see at least one thing we had originally set out to see.

This was a day of record hot temperatures for Montana, and the Subaru was starting to show signs of stress again--- at every long incline, I had to turn off the air conditioner and slow way down for fear of overheating. We stopped for lunch in Great Falls, Montana and the bank time/temp signs were displaying 104 degrees!

Only 3 more hours til Glacier...but then, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra "it was like deja vu all over again!". This time I was driving as we came to the first long, steady incline about 40 minutes north of Great Falls. Nearing the top of the hill, a familiar blue cloud of smoke burst out from beneath the hood. I literally screamed in disbelief! "This is a brand new car", I shouted!

Well, this tim
e, rather than calling my Good Sam towing service, I knew exactly who to Subaru customer service manager, Jody. She was completely stunned by the news, but quickly jumped into gear to get me some help. There was a Subaru dealer back in Great Falls, and she contacted the Service Manager to make towing arrangements for us.

In an hour or so, a nice young man came to tow the car and the trailer back to Great Falls. Millie knew the routine now, as she peered out from the back seat of the Subaru as it got loaded up onto another flatbed tow truck.

While the dealer in Jackson was a total nightmare to deal with, the dealer (and all the people we met) in Great Falls were the kindest, most generous people we had ever encountered. When we arrived to Bennett Motors 10 minutes after closing time, the Service Manager, Bob Bailey, and his head technicians were out front waiting for us. One of them started inspecting the car as it rolled off the tow truck while the other hooked my T@B up to his pickup truck and drove it into the garage for safe keeping that night.

(photo courtesy of Bennett Motors)

There were no rental car offices still open that night, so Bob drove Mom, Millie, me, and our bags over to the hotel and promised to send a driver in the morning to take us to the rental car office. When we arrived to the hotel, Bob even took the time to help carry our bags inside and made sure we got checked in o.k. I couldn't imagine any other auto service manager in the country doing something like that for total strangers, long after work hours no less!!! He really renewed my faith in how good and compassionate people can be, and we will be forever thankful for his kindness to us that night.

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