A fifty dollar car was a fifty dollar car. She didn’t expect anything more. She paid the salesman with several well worn bills and slid into the driver’s seat of the sorely neglected 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline. “Piece of junk.” she muttered. “Just get me where I need to go.” And she yawned, as if the whole car buying experience was one big bore. Taking her gum out of her mouth, she stuck it under the dash and put the key in the ignition.
The salesman had referred to the car as lazy. “It doesn’t seem to have much get up and go.” But it made no difference to her. Once she reached California, she planned to stop at the first junk yard she saw.
Putting her hand in her pocket, she pulled out a Snicker’s bar, and throwing the wrapper on the floor, stuffed the entire bar in her mouth in two bites. Her fingers sticky with chocolate, she clutched the steering wheel and eased out of the parking lot.
About three blocks into the drive, light rain began to fall and she switched on the windshield wipers. After one lethargic pass over the glass-they stopped working. Coupled with the radio, which seemed to fade every time she found a station playing the easy listening music she favored, she was beginning to understand why the salesman had referred to the car as lazy.
Gliding through a red light four blocks from the starting point- Ajax Budget Auto, the ancient heap backfired twice and died.
Needless to say, before the day was over, the Fleetline sat, once again, in the used car lot.
A week later, just when the salesman was about to call a tow truck to take the Fleetline away, a young girl appeared. As she gazed over the assortment of cars for sale, her eyes fell on the old Chevrolet and you could see it was love at first sight.
“How much?” she asked, nodding in the direction of the aging car. Her heart was racing, hoping the 100 dollars in her pocket was enough for her first car-the car of her dreams.
“50 bucks. But trust me. You don’t want that old clunker. It’s lazy.”
“But she’s the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen in my life.” said the girl. “They don’t make them like that any more. Besides, I’m in the auto shop program over at Grant High. I’ll fix her right up.” And walking over to the Fleetline, the girl pulled a bandana from her pocket, and lovingly started to polish the chrome.
“Tell you what. You can have it for $25. Call it my contribution to the future mechanics of America.”
As the girl climbed in and started her new car up, it roared to life- the windshield wipers working furiously back and forth while the radio blared Ella Fitzgerald’s “My Happiness.”
The look of surprise on the salesman’s face was matched only by the look of utter bliss on the girl’s as she drove away.
Lazy? Not at all. The Fleetline had only been napping- waiting for her princess to come.