Properly equipped with a rental car, I take great care to make sure that I return the car exactly how I got it. I even parked a distance away from the entrance to the supermarket to avoid unnecessary pings and dents. You know the phrase - mentch trach un Gott Lacht - that's about as much Yiddish as I know - when I came back to the car, I saw that there was a small dent in the door of the rental, probably from someone's shopping cart. I should have parked closer.
Fast forward to today. Itzik calls me and says, the car is ready. Can you come now? I was already at work, but turned around. He'd been really nice, so I figured I'd try and save him a day on the rental. Wouldn't happen.
When I got there, the car was ready (nice work), so I went up and paid. In a rather humorous twist, he told me not to tell the secretary about the "other dent" that he fixed. She doesn't like when he does work so cheap. At least that's what he told me. I show him the dent in the rental, and his guys immediately get to work. No problem. We'll take care of it.
As we're settling up, she looks at the insurance invoice, unfolds the bottom of the page and says, "Oh, you're supposed to get a front alignment." Really.
I'm ready to leave. Itzik gives me the keys and I ask him, "What about the front alignment?"
"You want one?"
"Sure I want one. It's on the invoice."
He calls over one of his workers, telling him to run ourselves over to the local alignment shop and have the car tested. They do a "quick" test, and discover that the car badly needs an alignment, which leaves me in a bind. I've really got to get to work. I can't use my car - it needs an alignment. I can't use the rental - it's being fixed.
No problem. Itzik lends me his other loaner car which I use to drive to work.
So, on the way home, I drove his loaner from Orot to the body shop. Then I drove the rental car (now fixed and painted) from the body shop to the rental car place. Then the rental car guy dropped me back at the body shop where I finally picked up my car again, so I could drive home.
All for a felafel.
After all this, I'm rather proud that I kept my cool and kept things in perspective.
When I first saw Itzik this morning, I said that he's got a problem.
"What's that?" he asks me.
"Well, no one can visit you in your business and say, 'Hey Itzik, great to see you!'"
He laughed, and said that on Rosh Hashanah, when people wish each other a year of easy parsnassah, they don't really know what to say to him. After all, his parnassah depends on their mistakes. But he did say something that rang true.
"I'm not so bad. If people don't want to see me, imagine what they say to the doctor."
True enough. After all this hassle for a (really good) falafel, thank God we're all healthy. It cost me some money, aggravation and time, but everyone's well.
And that's what's really important.
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.