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Pizza Delivery Tip #3

Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you.

I'm sure that you've heard this phrase before. Usually it comes out of the mouth of an older man, but I am getting up there so I almost fit the profile. This advice doesn't come from age so much as it does from experience. A bad one, to be more specific.

I was 18 years old and was driving a car that I really liked. It was a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais. It was a two-door, five speed manual transmission, 2.5 liter 4 cylinder. It was nice.

It's fatal end came one night when I was delivering a pizza to a subdivision near the intersection of CC and 65 highway. I had taken NN, or "old 65" depending on how long you've been around, and was driving carefully, or so I had thought. The weather had been terrible all night. It was winter and we had been receiving some form of precipitation all day. The sky was sleeting, snowing and dropping freezing rain on us at different times.

I had just passed the Catholic Church when the road ever-so-slightly curves to the left. It's a bend that could easily be taken at 200 miles per hour in dry conditions, but this night was anything but that. I had subscribed to the wisdom that a front-wheel-drive car should have the best tires on the front so that it can get traction. I'm sure some of you have heard this.

When I started to make the curve to the left my back end slid out to the right and before I could react I had already passed the point of recovery. The rear of the car made it's way completely around till I was going backwards. I had tried everything I could think of in those couple seconds repeatedly and nothing was bringing me out of it. The inside of the car started to light up as if the dome light was slowly coming on, but it wasn't the dome light. Still going backwards, I turned to see two headlights headed right for me. I quickly turned back into my seat and braced myself for impact by pushing as hard as I could against the steering wheel with my head pressed into the back of the seat. I even had the foresight to slightly bend my elbows so that I might not break my arms. The moment was no doubt just a second or two, but I remember every detail of it and wondering what was taking so long and that maybe the car had slipped by.

I woke up with the radio blaring. I was cold. I couldn't move much. I couldn't figure out why I was just sitting in my car. I just sat there for a little while. I'm not sure how long. I was staring at my dash near the passenger side and was trying to mentally process what I was seeing, but was having trouble doing so. Finally, I saw that the dash was split wide open. While I was shocked at this observation, I noticed that the instrument panel looked different. I saw the cracks, but there was something else that made it look different. It eluded me for a second, but then I realized that the steering wheel was no longer in the way of me seeing it. Then, it all came rushing to me. I had been in an accident.

The Ford Bronco II that hit me couldn't get the traction to stop. He tried to avoid me, but I was taking up the whole road. I had spun 270 degrees by the time we collided, so the front of his truck hit my car squarely between my driver's door handle and the front bumper. The impact pressed the door so far in that it left me pinned between the door and the console. The steering column broke from the sideways force to the front axle and when it did all the force I had exerted on the steering wheel made me push it through the windshield. The windshield was spider-webbed throughout but there was a hole with the steering wheel still in it. The top part of that hole had two round cutouts where my hands had been when it smashed through it.

Another detail that I'll never forget was the look on the Bronco owner's face when I looked at him. I had not yet realized what was happening when I looked out my driver's door window that no longer was there because my head had gone through it. He was standing out in the middle of the road about 15 feet from me. He was looking the opposite direction of me when I first noticed him. He turned and saw me and didn't come any closer, but asked if I was alright. What I would find out later from him was that he had been trying to wake me up without success for a little bit while he waited on the ambulance to make it to me. He didn't expect me to be awake and looking at him when he turned around.

In the end, the car was totaled, a new pizza was made and sent out to the house but the driver kept the tip for me and gave it to me two days later when I went back to work, my only substantial injury was the piece of glass in the back of my head that they had to dig out, and I had to dig some glass out of my eye when I got home.

This could have all been avoided if I had had better tires on the back.

Moral of Story: Take care of your car or your car might take care of you.


This was a thoroughly entertaining story! Pizza guys just have to roll with the punches sometimes, and make the best out of the situation. Do you have any other stories like this that I can check out? You should write short stories for a living!
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