You Hauled it Home, Alright! - The Garage
Is this real life?
That kind of stuff only happens in movies. That’s what I thought, too, until it actually happened. If you’re more of a visual type of learner, skip straight to the photo. If you’d like to hear the story, bear with me for one minute and keep reading.
We were out testing new trucks in the local Californian desert on a sunny December Friday afternoon. It was lunchtime (priorities), and we had just parked the traveling circus convey of ½- and ¾-ton trucks along the back row of a parking lot and had been seated at a promising Mexican restaurant. Our order had been taken and it was setting up to be a perfectly normal lunchtime experience with congenial coworkers. And then it happened.
In an instant, everything got weird—but it took a minute for the weirdness to set in. Perhaps you’ve had a similar type of experience. I kind of heard it first, and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a U-Haul box truck come barreling through the parking lot. It was seemingly completely out of control, and as it swung around a corner to exit the parking lot (instead of thankfully crashing straight into the restaurant), the passenger door flung open. Upon a quick weight shift, the door slammed shut again and after two large booms the runaway U-Haul sped away onto a busy street. It had bypassed the exit driveway as it passed another vehicle that was patiently waiting for traffic to clear, driving off a curb with reckless abandon for the planter landscaping and the large sign for the restaurant of which we were patrons.
We had barely finished recounting this odd eyewitness experience when the power suddenly flickered a few times. Then, as someone pointed at a swaying power line outside, the power went out completely. It took a few seconds, but then it hit our whole group at almost the same time as we all simultaneously muttered the same words to each other—the U-Haul! It didn’t make sense and it couldn’t be (because that kind of thing only happens in movies). Moments after the power went out, sirens could be heard from very close by, and a U-Haul pickup was dispatched from the U-Haul site, which was ironically right across the street.
We ran outside to see how close the action was. Most of the group stayed put (who wants to be caught in the middle of a gun fight or something truly crazy like that) while a few brave ones who couldn’t resist the journalistic instinct to investigate proceeded toward the scene. The tales they returned with would have been dismissed as grandiose hyperbole if not for the photographic evidence. It was confirmed that the culprit was indeed the U-Haul, which had reportedly made it not so far as the next big intersection before centerpunching a telephone pole, moving the base of the massive pole 6 feet and causing great tension on the live wires above. The passenger door had, of course, flung open again, but there was no sign of the driver.
In case you were wondering, the power was temporarily restored long enough for us to get our food and enjoy the rest of lunch. By the time we left, the street was completely closed in both directions and the power was off again for the foreseeable future. The mini disaster had essentially brought the whole city to a standstill.
The resulting newspaper report further muddled the weirdness factor of the chain of events we had observed. I suspected someone had stolen the U-Haul (which was presumably packed to the brim with someone’s valuables) spontaneously from the parking lot. However, it turned out to be three older women (who may or may not have known each other very well). It all went awry when one snatched a purse while in a thrifty store, which apparently wasn’t part of the “plan.” The other two wanted nothing to do with it, at which point the snatcher hopped in the driver seat and well…moments later ran into a power pole. Bloody but mobile, she left the crash site and apparently locked herself inside a nearby homeowner’s bathroom.
So there you have it. Sometimes crazy things happen literally right in front of you. What’s your most memorable “only-in-movies” firsthand account?