The long tow home
October 18, 2007
Not many things make you feel more helpless than a car that just … won’t … go. Last Thursday evening I was placed in that position of utter helplessness. I had stopped at a West End intersection to allow some pedestrians to cross, and when I stepped on the gas there was at first a hesitation, and then nothing. In technical parlance the car just … wouldn’t … go.With daylight declining I knew that I needed an angel, a white knight to come and take my car to the place where they fix cars. Enter Wayne Crain from Ajax Towing. Within 45 minutes after I had placed my call indicting my distress, Wayne was on the scene with a shiny truck, a friendly disposition and a “get ‘er done” attitude. Within 20 minutes we were on our way, my car heading to Glenwood for diagnostics and repairs, and my wife and I headed home in the front seat of the big ol’ honkin’ tow truck that serves as Wayne’s office.Ajax Towing has been around for years, but just this past May, ownership changed hands when Wayne and his partner Rego Omerigic bought the business. Wayne and Rego had both been working for Pitkin County in fleet maintenance for the better part of this century, and both though they might be there for good. Such is life on the county payroll. But when an opportunity came along to go into business for themselves by buying Ajax, the pair jumped at the life-changing chance. With an auto-repair shop and three tow trucks, they now have their hands full.As they prepare to go into their first winter saving the citizens of this valley who are in distress, they couldn’t be happier with the decision they made. “The opportunity to work for yourself is great,” said Wayne as he tooled down the highway, our 4,500-pound vehicle floating behind the tow truck. “Every day is different. You never know what’s coming up from one day to the next. And then there is the challenge of making it. It’s exciting.”We were not only getting a tow and a lift, we were also getting a lesson from a true American entrepreneur, a guy who had the comfort of a county gig and dumped it to be his own boss. To win or lose, based on the marketplace. To put himself on the line 24/7 and run a business that helps folks out in the dead of night and in the bottom of the ditch. Wayne is my hero.He also was a hero this past week to a woman from Texas, in what was his first “winter tow” of the season. She had made the mistake of trying to ascend Independence Pass on last Sunday’s snowy evening in her Prius. I had a vision, when Wayne told the tale, of a modern pioneer, trying to cross the mountains in her energy-efficient, Al Gore-approved, Japanese-made covered wagon, only to be overwhelmed by the pitch of the hill and the weather until her car just … wouldn’t … go. Along came John Wayne, er, Wayne Crain, to save her from the cold dark night. As I said, he is a hero.With winter coming you might want to keep Ajax’s number (970-945-2339) tucked under your visor, because you never know when your car … just … won’t go.