The Fiesta Fiasco
(Imagine watery flashback visuals here)
It was summer in the mid-1980s. Feeling the thrill of victory, I circled a classified ad with my highlighter: Ford Fiesta. Good condition. Manual transmission. $1800 FIRM.
I’d been searching for a car for months. Learning the owner lived in a nearby city, I went in search of my younger brother.
“Dude!” I said excitedly, finding him busy as usual with one of his electronic gadgets.
“Yeah,” he replied, distracted.
“I need your help.”
“I think I found a car!” Sudden interest sparked his brown eyes. “Since I don’t know anything about cars, can you come check it out with me?”
We met the owner, and I listened intently to his description of the positive attributes of the little car while my brother checked under the hood and inspected the tires.
“Want to take it for a test drive?” the owner asked.
Being “directionally challenged,” and uncomfortable in this unfamiliar territory, I begged my brother to test drive it for me. He did. Afterwards he told me the car handled great and seemed a good deal.
We returned the next day and I bought it with every penny I had saved.
“O’ darling brother of mine," I said, turning to him. "Would you mind driving it home? These streets are confusing and I want to get used to driving it around our house first.”
“Okay!” he replied, clearly excited to have a new toy to play with.
Once we got home he parked it, handing me the keys.
I was SO excited! I slipped behind the wheel, put the key in the ignition and stretched out my foot to depress the clutch. And stretched…and stretched. My body was inclined at a 45-degree angle when my foot finally made contact. “Hey bro, the seat isn't adjusted forward,” I said yanking at the lever.
“Uh, yeah it is, Hol’.” He looked concerned.
He was right. The seat wouldn’t budge. I’m only five-feet tall and it had never occurred to me I might not be able to reach the pedals. I sat stunned as the reality of my situation hit me.
Oh. My. Gosh! I had just bought a car I couldn’t drive!
I began to hyperventilate. “W-w-what a s-s-stupid thing to do! Why didn’t I t-t-test drive it? What am I going to doooooo!”
He patted me consolingly for a few minutes, then said, “I’ve got an idea.”
Getting behind the driver’s seat, he raised up both of his legs and began ramming his feet against the back of my seat.
“W-what are y-y-you d-d-doing?” I hiccupped, jiggling with each impact. He continued the relentless pounding as my seat slowly inched forward until it was permanently jammed further than it was ever meant to go. My foot hit the clutch.
“You did it!” I screamed, leaping up and tackling him with a hug. “I can reach, I can reach!
I hopped back in and started the engine. Never mind that the seat was probably totally illegal now. Never mind that now only a five-foot-tall person could drive it. Never mind that it was the hideous color of a lima bean. It was my car—and now I could drive it!
I rolled down my window and grinned at him. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he grinned back, then walked whistling into the house.
I flicked on the radio. Katrina and the Wave’s “Walkin’ On Sunshine,” blasted from the speakers as I backed out of the driveway and took off down the road.
Oops! Oh yeah…. lesson learned: Don't ever be too afraid to take your own test drives in life. And always wait till you're over 40 years old to share these types of stories where you parents can read them. Heh, heh.
Ford Fiesta Image by: Jonathan