My husband and I, like many other folks in Lexington, have been looking for a used vehicle that sips gasoline sparingly.
We planned to allow our college-bound son to use it until he heads out this fall, and then my husband would use it to get back and forth to work.
I truly didn't think it would take a long time to find a vehicle, but that was because I had forgotten how frustrating it can be to mix a miser like me with a used-car salesman who hasn't noticed the tight economy.
Plus, it didn't help that we started out looking for a small pickup so I could get mulch whenever I wanted, then decided we needed a small car.
I initiated this search in early April and had to drag my husband along. By the time it ended Monday, I was just window dressing. It was my job to carry the checkbook and the pen. Somewhere during the past two weeks, the job of finding a car was commandeered by my husband and son.
And that explains why my husband and son were walking the used-car lot at a large local dealership about 9 p.m. Sunday.
We had researched a car at that dealership and had driven it but hadn't arrived at an agreeable price.
A couple of days later, the salesman called back and offered terms I could live with.
So, Sunday evening, after gorging at a cookout, I sent my husband and son back to the dealership to look it over and decide on the car.
About an hour later they returned, saying they had a car.
But the dealership is closed, I said. How did you buy a car?
Seems they were walking around, looking at similar cars, when my husband noticed the dash lights in one car were on. Although the motor was not running, someone had left the keys in the ignition and the ignition on.
Had I been with them, I would have turned the car off and left the keys in the driver's seat, door unlocked.
Not my husband and not my son.
They decided it would be best to lock the car and bring the keys home.
I had visions of killing them.
Why did you do that? I asked. I would never have done that.
”I know,“ my husband said. ”But it is the Christian thing to do.“
Christian thing? What about reality here? What about cameras recording two black males fiddling around with a car and taking the key? Does grand theft auto ring any bells?
”We didn't steal the car,“ my husband said. ”We saved it from being stolen.“
He then called the salesman and left a message about the key and who he was.
We waited but heard nothing.
I didn't sleep much.
The next morning I awoke my husband at 7 and told him we were going to be at that dealership when it opened to give that key back.
He groaned, but we were.
We handed the key to a manager who greeted us. He seemed amazed that such a thing had happened and assured me that my husband and son were in no trouble.
”No, no,“ he said. ”We are so grateful for your honesty.“
I think I recall seeing my husband stick his tongue out at me. From that point on, I lost all control.
So full of the joy of being a good Samaritan, my husband began looking at new cars on the lot and found one he liked better than the used car we had intended to buy.
He then called our son, waited for him to get washed and dressed, and took a couple of cars out for a spin.
At no time was I even in the front seat.
The moral of this story is don't ever let men go out scouting for cars alone. It can lead to sleepless nights and an empty bank account.