Letter to the editor: Sunny SLV hospitality shines on stranded motorists

In an era of such troublesome news …. I am happy to share a story of good news! On July 12 my husband and I were headed home after a month in New Mexico and made our usual rest stop in San Luis. We always enjoy the drive into this town, the beautiful view of the church on the hillside, the lush valleys between the mountains. On this particular afternoon once the “rest” was completed we jumped back into our car to make our way to Lamar for the night – reservations already made. Yet, the car had another plan; it would not move out of park. Numerous attempts and various ideas tried produced no results. When finally it was time to call our roadside assistance we discovered our Sprint signal was not working (the major fire from two weeks before had taken out many cell towers). With the visitor’s center closed we walked down to Piccadilly Circus Pizza to use their phone; no phone yet they point us toward the gas station. When walking through to the gas station and asking to if they had a public pay phone a woman (local healthcare worker – didn’t get her name) making a purchase said, “here, use my phone.” This was the first of many kind gestures made to us. We told her this would take time, “no problem, go ahead.” Eventually we did give roadside assistance the gas station’s number and set her on her way. Then the beginning of our awkward hovering to be close to hear if / when the phone rang. About 30 minutes later Denise, the young woman working behind the counter who had chatted on and off with us, exclaimed “you have an iPhone, I will enter our wi-fi code so you can use your phone.” Genius! Yes, now a bit more control …. and then it began to rain …. so much for control.

We thought roadside had someone on the way – but I needed to stay in the gas station where I had wi-fi signal and my husband made trips back and forth. Finally a call from a gentleman asking “where are you?” - ah, ha – this must be our guy! He (later we came to know him as Donald, one of the Speedway Garage owners – only a 100 feet away from our stalled car) arrived and tried numerous times to understand what was wrong with the car. He went away and later came back with a young man (Sean) who again seemed to have more tricks up his sleeve, yet without success.

By this time we are getting numerous tow truck driver calls. Since the car couldn’t be rolled, we needed a tow truck that had special equipment for mounting it on a flatbed. (Oh, boy, where is that at out here?!?) Calls are made to the dealership who verify the car cannot be rolled; however, there is a way it can be placed into neutral and then rolled. OK, who has the where-with-all to make this happen? At this point my husband and I agree – time out is needed. We will get a room for the night (fortunately there was a room available at the San Luis Inn on this Thursday, had it been Friday we would have been out of luck) and come back at this with clearer heads in the morning.

So come the next morning, text messages and phone calls were zinging back and forth with tow truck drivers, Donald, roadside assist, mechanics, dealership, insurance, and you name it. I am still stuck at the gas station to be able to communicate as needed. We have the stress of getting the car to the Colorado Springs dealership before it closes. As I am trying to appear as non-obtrusive as possible “hanging out” in this gas station, one woman rolls her car window down and with concern asks “do you need help?” Another helper was “The Major” (a huge Mastiff figured dog) who came and stood by me before laying flat on the ground as if to bring solace and protection.

Many details eliminated in this story out of courtesy to you, the reader. For instance the two young boys – one on a bike pulling the other on a two-wheeled scooter – the one on the scooter took a bloody knee/elbow/arm spill right in front of us --- Oh, know, do we have something broken??? (Alas, he finally got up and carried on.)

By 1 p.m. the car was loaded, Donald was behind the wheel, and we were headed to The Springs. A very pleasant drive as we learned more from Donald about the local history of this area. We were so relieved that he and Sean were so capable, caring, and careful. Getting to meet Donna in their shop was another perk! Young Irish (or was she Scot?) woman who had joined the USA Marine Corp to earn citizenship and done two tours in the Middle East. Another very bright person with an interesting story to tell. We successfully arrived with the car at the dealership before they closed for the weekend.

Our Boulder friend came and retrieved us for – what we thought was going to be the weekend and come Monday we would be on our way. In actuality, come Tuesday, June 17 I flew home to Kansas City and come Friday, June 27 my husband finally made it home with a new transmission installed in the car.

Why do I make the time to relay this story?

We want to thank all the considerate people of San Luis that noticed and openly extended an offer to help.

Thank you to all.

Marvin and Robin Boone

Kansas City, MO


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