Colleen Ladd / Uncategorized

Penny (Colleen Ladd)

Flickr Creative Commons // Gamma Man

Just the other day, I decided to go and get Penny fixed.

In case you are wondering, Penny is my eleven-year-old…. car. (Ha ha)

She is a Chrysler PT Cruiser and she came from my loving and adoring mother (who owned her first) on the day of my 16th birthday. I’ll never forget the first day I got her. She was the symbol of all things ‘free’ for my very young adolescent high school life.

However, having Penny in college hasn’t been easy. Since hitting her eleven-year mark, she has given me grief in more ways than one, along with attitude and many situations of false hope. That includes the following, but not limited to: brakes blowing out mid-drive, countless events of overheating, silent rides due to an unresponsive radio, air conditioning in the form of scorching, hot breath (I live in Florida) and obnoxious rumbles below in the form of what I like to call ‘car-quakes’ after driving over uneven bumps. In a way, Penny has reached ‘Car Menopause’.

So like I said, the other day I decided to go and get Penny fixed. I took her to an independent auto repair shop in a questionable area, but a trusted friend referred me so I put away my worries and put on my big girl panties. I sat on a small, green leather couch while Edgar the Repairman worked on Penny. After an hour of Latin beats and la musica caliente, Edgar informed me that Penny was replaced with a thermostat, my radio was good to go and I owed him $96. I called up Firestone (who I normally go to) and asked how much it would be to replace my thermostat: $187 for the labor and the actual car part. I had saved $93.50. HELLS YES.

Drunk on happiness, I hop skipped to the next stop on my way back to my house at a car wash; Penny deserved a treatment at the spa. Half maintained by machine and half maintained by man, I went through the car wash giggling as if it were my first. After the machine labor came the man labor, and boy did I have work for him. I stood next to my car while I watched him heave-ho and at times jumped back into Penny due to embarrassment on my behalf, but the determined man was able to make her look better than I could have dreamed. Something in me told me that he needed the money, so I gave him a 100 percent tip. The look in his eyes told me I was right, so I smiled, got in my car and drove away feeling good about giving in a selfless manner.

After seeing these two men of Latin descent work so hard, it was clear to me that they found the opportunity to work as a blessing, despite what the title of the job was. This is compared to where I work and have worked in the past, where people complained and lacked motivation to do his or her best — myself included. Work is a blessing, not only for the money to maintain a balance in your life but also an opportunity for growth and development. It’s an opportunity to be thankful for what is presented to you. Working isn’t just getting the job done, it’s about who you are as a person and what you give to the people around you whether that be a contagious smile, a helping hand or sudden awareness of simple lessons — like the one I just wrote about.

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