Friday, July 31, 2009

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Well, dad and daughter and cat are home safe, but they had an adventure.

They started with a day and a half of hard packing and loading the truck and hauling trash. By the end, they were packing trash in the truck, since it was closer than the dumpster and the truck had extra space. The second night was camping out on the apartment floor. Dad went for the grunge look - didn't pack his razor and there was no shower curtain, therefore no shower.

Bright and early Wednesday morning they headed up Interstate 75, dad driving the Penske rental truck with daughter following in her little Hyundai Accent. About an hour and a half into the trip, even before a breakfast break, dad gets a call.

"My window exploded!" Daughter has pulled over to the side of the road and doesn't know what to do next. Dad has no clue what has happened since his side mirrors don't allow that view. He takes the next exit, four or five miles ahead, then doubles back ten miles to the exit he needs and finally comes up behind her. Her driver's window is shattered, with glass everywhere around her, and the side of the car looks like it's been sanded by a buzz saw.

Truly thank God for cell phones and tempered glass. When the Florida highway patrolman arrived, they together determined she had been side swiped by a semi-tractor trailer. The semi was likely moving back to the right lane after passing a rest stop. The box of the semi's trailer hit her window just before its wheels raked the body of her car. The trucker never knew he hit someone. She didn't see the truck since the shock of the breaking window was so distracting. The patrolman said a semi hits a car without noticing at least once a day on that stretch of interstate.

You often see cars on the side of the road, by themselves, and you wonder what happened. Now you know.

The car was driveable, so they made it the few miles to a nearby Penske dealership. Yes, there was a car trailer available but it was parked behind a truck with a dead battery. So more time ticked by as they replaced the truck battery to move the truck to get to the trailer to attach to our truck. Daughter had to drive the car up on to the trailer, since she was the only one small enough to squeeze behind the wheel. She did a good job for someone whose life really had just flashed before her eyes.

After the three hour delay, they were on the road again - a shaky dad and daughter and a nervous cat in the cab of a Penske truck pulling a car taped up with plastic to keep out the rain. Shortly after their re-start they drove into thunderstorms. Dad called to let me know he expected lightning to hit them soon.

But lightning didn't strike, the plastic covering on the car held, the truck and trailer performed admirably and now they're home.

So here's a plug for Penske, with quality equipment and enough locations to be quite handy. And major kudos to Hyundai, a company that builds tough little cars that know how to break in only the right places. It could have been so very much worse.


Jennifer said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!! Thank goodness she is ok!

Randy Ryerson said...

Mr. Balthrop:

Thank you for your recent email to our staff and kind words about Penske Truck Rental. We're glad everything worked out for you and your family with your move. We do appreciate your business. Thanks for rentng with us.

Randolph P. Ryerson
Director, Corporate Communications

Route 10, Green Hills
P.O. Box 563
Reading PA 19603

Sherry said...

We like Penske, too. I'm just so grateful that Kelly's OK--and that Dad was there to help. Sherry