If the answer to that question is yes then boy do we have a story for you! When it comes to being an auto mechanic there is never a shortage of lessons to be learned while in the shop; this story is one of those lessons! A user on Quora shared his wild experience with an old Chevy dump truck he was working on one day.
What was supposed to be a simple job turned into a major adrenaline-rushing headache. Not only did this guy avoid complete catastrophe, but somehow not a single person in his shop or on busy Main Street witnessed his mistake!
Talk about pure luck! Check out the full story below:
“So it was a typical slow morning at the shop. I was up at the front service counter and grabbed our first work order of the day. The top of the order had a handwritten note for a vehicle that said ‘KEY IN IGNITION, PARKED BY THE GREEN DUMPSTER.’
The description of the vehicle was as follows: ‘1974 Chevy DUMPTRUCK, green. Won’t start, pops back through the intake when cranking over.’
‘Okay,’ I thought, ‘This sounds pretty straightforward.’
I walked towards the green dumpster at the back of the shop, starting a pre-diagnostic in my head.
‘So, we’re talking a lousy old dump truck with intake backfire causing no start?’ I thought, ‘That model year probably has points and condenser set if no one had converted it to HEI (High Energy Ignition) or mechanical timing issue most likely.’
I remembered that GM introduced HEI on their vehicles around 1974ish, so maybe this truck was at the cutoff.
Sure enough, there sat a green dump truck at the back of the shop next to the green dumpster. I could tell by the body type that it was definitely a 70s model Chevy. I hopped in and sure enough, the keys were in the ignition.
To verify the original customer complaint I turned the key and you know what? The thing fired right up. Didn’t miss a single beat. Sounded like a classic case of ‘It only runs at the mechanic shop’ syndrome.
I let the truck run for a while, pressed the throttle a few times, and listened to the accelerator pump and carburetor work without any bogging down or issues. Not too shabby.
So I took the hulking green monster for a test drive down the street, and once again, I found no issues. At this point I was a little confused, so I just shrugged, drove the truck back to the shop, and parked it by the dumpster again. Now our parking lot has a slight incline to it so I made sure to set the emergency brake. I didn’t put the shift lever into low gear before getting out either.
Lo and behold the parking brake holds steady like a rock! No movement at all.
So far, I have found no issues with this thing.
‘Ah well,’ I said to myself, ‘I’ll let it hot soak for a while then try again after my coffee.’
I walked across the parking lot back to the shop, opened the back door, and just about had myself inside when I heard the one sound a mechanic does not want to hear.
A loud, sharp POP.
My back was still to the truck but my eyes instantly bulged out of my head.
‘Oh no, oh no, oh no…‘
I did an instant 180 and sure enough, the truck was now rolling backward down the hill of our parking lot and headed right towards Main Street!
I’ve never run track in my life but I like to think I had sprinted faster at that moment than I ever had in my life. I made a dead heat to the rolling green behemoth as if my life depended on it! Well, maybe not my life but definitely my job!
Despite my best attempt, I was unable to catch up to the truck and watched it roll away out of my reach and control. This thing was in God’s hands now.
I almost couldn’t watch what was going to happen next, but I think it was unverifiable proof that miracles do happen. This big hulking dump truck, rolled backward, completely missed the concrete parking post in our parking lot, missed a mailbox, then missed two parked cars by slipping perfectly between the gaps between them, then continued onto Main Street. Now, this is even more miraculous… the time is currently 8:30 am in the center of town and for some unexplainable reason, all of Main Street IS COMPLETELY EMPTY; NOT A SINGLE CAR ON THE ROAD.
At this point, I’m pretty sure my soul has left my body. I cannot believe my luck so far until I saw the truck roll in the direction of the church next door.
By now I’m just about caught up with the truck when it began to roll into the church’s parking lot. By the grace of God, the truck starts to lose momentum thanks to the slight uphill incline of the church parking lot. With just seconds to spare, I leaped onto the truck, yanked the door open, and slammed on the brakes before it had the chance to roll back down Main Street all over again.
I let out the loudest sigh of relief in my life. I was in shock and shaking like crazy. Shocked that no one was hurt, and incredibly panicked that this all happened directly in front of the shop. The front desk and waiting room were entirely made of glass so I assumed my boss and whole crew probably saw me run like hell after this runaway truck.
I drove the truck back behind the shop, killed the engine, put the transmission in gear, and chock the wheels for safety. I immediately got out and inspected the parking assembly. Sure enough, the cable snapped right in the middle of the truck. Upon further inspection, I saw that the cable had been frayed for a long time. With my luck, it just so happened to break on me!
After a few minutes, I caught my breath, steadied my hands, wiped the sweat pouring from my face, and prepared my walk of shame back to the shop. It was time to face the music.
I opened the door and looked around expecting to see someone waiting to reprimand me. But everyone seemed to be just going about their shift…?
I stood there for a minute completely still but nothing. No finger-wagging, no yelling. Nothing!
At this point, I was just bewildered.
I must’ve looked crazy because my foreman walked up to me and said ‘Damn, you like you just saw a ghost! You okay?’
My jaw dropped. I just could not believe it. YOU MEAN NO ONE SAW ME ROLL A DUMP TRUCK INTO MAIN STREET?!
Not to mention no one got hurt, no property damage, and I still had my job?!
I had to pinch myself I thought I was dreaming, but I couldn’t keep it in for any longer. I told the truth to my foreman expecting a ticked-off response. Instead, the guy said, ‘What truck? That truck wasn’t the one you were supposed to work on!’
‘Yes, it was!’ I said. ‘Green 70s Chevy dump truck, parked out back by the green dumpster? This is the truck!’
My foreman laughed.
‘Outback?’ he said. ‘It’s not even here! You and I are going to pick it up from the customer right now! It’s just up the road parked by the green dumpster in his lot.’
I was speechless! What were the odds of this happening and why of all people did it happen to me? Lady luck was on my side that day I swear.
Moral of the story: Just because you assume it’s the correct piece of junk, doesn’t mean it is! After that crazy day a shift doesn’t go by that I don’t double-check my work orders.”
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