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Su Lum: Driver found

A few weeks ago, after learning that our office manager, Hilary Burgess, was trading the use of her old rattletrap Toyota for massages, I wrote a column (“Drivers wanted”) about trading the use of my VW Beetle for various treats and chores.

My wish list included mention that I’d trade a lot for someone to drive the Beetle to Elk Mountain Motors for an upcoming all-day stint in Glenwood Springs.

The first time I took the Beetle in, it was only four hours. After walking over to the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet next door and reading the papers over an original recipe breast (they no longer, fie on them, offer “keels”), I repaired to Elk Mountain’s Audi showroom with a City Market brown bag full of Aspen Times homework which I’d been saving up for the occasion and after getting through that fell asleep on one of the leather sofas.

The second time, for my 5,000-mile checkup plus a warning light, it was a day-and-a-half job and I spent what seemed like a day and a half driving back and forth and riding the RFTA “local” bus which goes everywhere except Marble.

This time it was to get my engine flushed because last winter a gas station put in pink coolant instead of blue, or vice versa, which is a no-no. They ought to take those warning labels off mouthwash bottles and beer cans and put them where they might be useful, such as “USE ONLY BLUE (or PINK)” on the coolant reservoirs of Beetles.

I was supposed to have this done back in September, but time slips away when facing unpleasantness, and suddenly it was well into the new year and I was facing worse unpleasantness if I didn’t get this over with, hence it was heavy on my mind when writing down my trade wishes.

So imagine my delight when I turned on my e-mail and saw “Driver found” among the messages.

“Dear Su,” it read. “I read your column today to discover that one of our customers seems more stressed than she should be. I would be glad to arrange to pick up your Beetle for your next service appointment. Joel Towbin.”

Casting no aspersions on Glenwood Springs, where in ordinary circumstances I could easily spend the day checking out local shops, braving Wally World and basking in the pool, these days I’m not enough up to snuff to schlep around town all day. I need the occasional lie-down, need to not stray too far from extra oxygen tanks in the car in case the one on my back “acts up,” as it is wont to do whenever I stray out of the county limits.

Thank you Joel, thank you lord, thank you tooth fairy!

And sure enough, my Beetle was picked up at 9 a.m. at The Aspen Times last Thursday, and delivered back at quarter of five, fixed and bathed, just like magic.

I told Joel that if this was a regular service, he should advertise it. He said that he didn’t have the driver-power to do it for all VW hospitalizations, but would always try if there were extenuating circumstances.

The mother VW company always calls after a car has been in one of their dealership shops, usually the next day, sometimes the same day! All very friendly, and they make it sound as if they’re from the shop you took your car to rather than calling from Kansas or someplace.

One of the service people told me awhile back that VW takes the responses very seriously, and has a rating system though the caller doesn’t actually ask you to rate them per se. I got the call, waxed enthusiastic, and asked what the highest rating would be. “That would be five.” I said he should put Elk Mountain down for six.

[Su Lum is a longtime local who was, as her father used to say, “pickled tink.” Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]


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