The Things Kids say
Mrs. Turner came up to the service counter with her young son in tow. Her car has been having some idling issues for quite some time. She's a regular customer, and it's not unusual for her husband to try a few things first, but eventually the car ends up at the repair shop to get it taken care of. The boy hopped up on one of the bar stools with a small toy car in hand. He ran his little car up and down the counter, while his mom and I discussed the car.
"My husband tried a few things, but he wasn't having much luck with it," Mrs. Turner went on, "He's very handy around the house you know, but there are times he just needs to step aside and let the professionals take over."
The young boy looks up from his little car with a little quirky look on his face and says to his mommy, "Daddy doesn't like mechanics." The embarrassed mother still blushing and extremely apologetic, looks down at her son and says, "Oh he doesn't mean that son. He meant he thought he could fix it instead of taking it to the mechanic."
"Ah uh, Mommy, he was pretty mad when you told him you were taking the car," the toddler tells his mom.
She turns to me and lays the keys on the counter, "Call me when you have some answers." Mrs. Turner put a firm grip on her young son's hand and led him out the door. As they were almost out of the front door the little boy said to his mom, "But Mommy, daddy said mechanics are dumb, and they don't know how to fix it. Daddy said he could fix it, Mommy."
I can just imagine the conversation on the way home. I'll bet Mrs. Turner was not a very happy camper, and I'm sure the boy was getting an ear full. Me, on the other hand, has to go back and play the part of the dumb mechanic, and see if I make it past the "can't fix it" stage the youngster so carefully informed his mother about.
The actual problem was too simple even for a novice mechanic. As soon as I opened the hood I didn't need any fancy scanners or diagnostic equipment, just a good ear. The idle problem was a loud hissing, leaking vacuum hose. A new section of hose took care of the problem in no time. I don't think Mrs. Turner has even made it to her house yet. She's probably still giving the boy that parental talk about what not to say in front of strangers. I'll wait a bit before I call her, you know… gotta give her some time to finish that speech to her son.
After lunch I made the phone call and told her that I had the car finished, and she could pick it up anytime she wanted. Of course she asked what was wrong with it, so she could tell her husband about it.
"I'll save the old piece of hose I changed out, so you can show him what I found."
It wasn't long before Mrs. Turner and her son were back at the service counter to pick up the car. The little guy had another toy car this time, and he kept himself busy running it up and down the counter. Mrs. Turner was busy writing out the check when the little guy stopped his little race car directly in front of me.
"Did you make smoke come out from under the hood like Daddy does?"
"No, I didn't make any smoke come out of the car," I told him, "Did your dad do that?"
"Yea, Daddy can make smoke come out of his big truck."
Mrs. Turner tore the check out from her book and sweetly patted her son on the head. He looked up at his mom and said to her, "Is Daddy a mechanic? Is Daddy dumb? You said last night that Daddy was dumb."
The embarrassment was showing on her face. I smiled, thanked her for her business, and handed her the keys. She turned towards the door with her hand on the back of her boys head… leading him out the door. As they walked to the door the little guy was clinging onto his little car. Mrs. Turner looks down at her son and tells him, "From now on, the only cars your daddy is going to be making any smoke come out of is one of your little race cars, son."
The little guy, stunned at his mom's suggestion says in a loud voice,
"Uh, uh mommy… he'll break it!"
Ah, yes… the things kids say… no doubt Mrs. Turner will be having another talk with her son on the trip home. I'm not sure at what age our inner thoughts stop becoming so vocal, but as an adult in this polite, politically correct world we live in, we just keep those things to ourselves. It's probably a good thing we do….