Friday, August 16, 2013

a decision that probably saved our lives today

When I was traveling globally on business negotiations, often something unexpected would come up. The professional knows how to create chicken salad out of a chicken crap situation – like the time I was taking a small business owner to Paris to sell his Texas videos to Euro-Disney, but a strike by French transport workers made getting to the meeting “iffy” – I did it.

It was good training for today’s strange events. 

After driving yesterday south on Texas highway 87 and not having Internet or even much in the way of humans visible for hundreds of miles, today we left for Houston on I 10 after a night in San Antonio. It wouldn't be a normal trip.

Then we made a decision that probably saved our lives. We stopped at the nice Texas travel center in I 10 just outside of Columbus, TX. After taking a break we started driving out but the car was wobbling like a duck in the front. I thought a tire had gone out but all four looked normal. So I tried again and realized something major was broken on the front – either bearings or some other critical part.

Had we not stopped, the car would have failed at 75 miles per hour and we would have had control issues and a car in the ditch or piled into other cars. 

But that presented another problem – how to make a 2:30 closing on my refi at a great rate (3.8%) with a dead car? I called AAA and got them “coming” (so I thought). Then I used the smartphone to find repair shops in Columbus – about 4 miles away. AAA said a tow would be there in an hour. I found a car rental at a Ford repair place. It turns out that ALL repair places close for the entire weekend in Columbus. My car would have to become a resident for a few days.

I had juggled all the balls and had the rental lined up and the tow, which had not arrived 2  hours later—an hour after the committed time. Then they were “15 minutes away” but were not there 30 minutes later. Then another company told me AAA doesn’t pay and it takes 3 hours to get them to show up.  So I got a tow from Vaughan Ford, left the keys and left the car in the rest area. We took off in the rental Suburban – which had only ¼ tank of gas!

We were nearly out of time to make the closing and we didn’t have enough gas.

We ran nonstop and I made a quick pit-stop for gas – and got here for the closing just 3 minutes before the closing lady arrived!  That international “make it up as you go” experience came in handy again today.

Today was Euro-Disney all over again. That’s what we had to do when the schedule fell apart – Make it up as you go.”  We had to run a blockade to get to the site, and then I had to jump over a turnstile in a suit because the doors wouldn’t open…part of my helping a small business guy get his foot in the door for a potentially huge payoff. What happened?

Its part of “Better Times Ahead April Fool.” Better yet, the final chapter deals with SOLUTIONS for America to win the 21st century, in “Agenda for American Greatness.”

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