Into every life a little rain must fall... We had just gotten into the splashy swing of playing in the wave pool at the water-park when I checked my phone. Text from my foreman, Matt. He was working in the South loop, and the truck was stolen. It was around 9th and Wells, legal street parking, about 10 AM. He came out for some materials, and it was gone. He hoped that maybe it was towed by mistake. My heart sank. All of our tools, materials, everything we use to run the business was in that truck. now, poof! It was gone.
To add insult to injury, the brief case my mother had given me as a graduation present from college in 1984 that I cherish dearly was on the front seat. Mom left us in '95 and now this last memento of her was gone as well. I have never had a vehicle stolen in my life, much less in broad daylight in a bustling gentrified neighborhood. That's what I get for trying to take a vacation. This was a crushing blow. I tried to not let it ruin our getaway weekend, which my wife and daughter had been looking forward to all winter. A sullen pouty-puss daddy was not in their vision of the weekend. So I tried to suck it up. But I couldn't help myself. I was stunned and very sullen for most of Friday. I was a little better Saturday, and by Sunday I had resigned myself to it. A huge hit, but life goes on, it's just stuff, nobody got hurt. All those things we tell ourselves to try to make ourselves feel better in times like this.
We had reported it to the police as stolen on Friday afternoon, but as of Sunday afternoon there was no word. We checked out of the lodge, I sat in the car as my wife shopped for gift cheese for our cat-sitter, and then we headed south.With a heavy heart and a grim determination to "let it go," As we were driving back, the phone rang. A very kindly lady asked if I was Peter McCarthy, and if I was missing a truck. In a semi-dumbfounded rush of astonishment and gratitude, (if I were a 14 year old girl I would have shrieked OMG!!!) I exclaimed "Yes!" She said my truck had appeared on her block in Englewood two days ago, and it seemed out of place to her. She said they were trying to break into it but it looked like as yet they had not been able to get in. She said she reported it to the police, but thought she would call me directly as well. OMG!!!!!!! I almost drove off the road. Angels in America? YOU BET!!! That was the happiest 90 miles I ever drove!
As soon as we got home, I drove over to see if it was still there. To my utter amazement, not even a window was broken. They had drilled/yanked out the lock on the passenger side door, and totally destroyed the key switch on the steering column. But beside that, the rest of the cab was unharmed. My mom's brief case was right where I left it! All my extension ladders were gone, but the thieves were not able to get into the main body. Three Cheers for American Lock Company!!! They had tried to pry off the sliding door when the locks defeated them, and given enough time I am sure they would have gotten in. But thanks to my "angel," they were out of time.
After an awful lot of help and good advice from a dear friend in the Chicago police department, I joined AAA over the phone and had a tow truck there in an hour. We towed it back to Hyde Park, and the next day towed it to a great new garage I found via Yelp. A little North of two grand later, we are back up and running. So all in all, as Garrison Keillor always says, "It could be worse."
What did I learn? There are bad people in the world. The liberal in me wants to belive that even the guys who stole my truck would have been working at legitimate jobs if they could have. If they had education, opportunities, maybe if they came from a long line of electricians, perhaps, as I was lucky enough to do. I don't know, maybe they are too lazy to work, as some of my right wing friends would assert. Or maybe there really is EVIL with the capital E in the world and ths was just another garden variety example of it. Maybe. But there are also an awful lot of really good hearted people in the world, like the "angel" who took the time and effort to track me down and be sure I knew where my truck was. Life is full of blessings if we just recognize them.