Lena became a widow in 1996 when her Navy pilot husband was killed as his car went off the road in a foggy night returning from the Casino in Immokalee Florida. The road was narrow with two lanes and deep ditches on either side. He hit a concrete bridge abutment head on and he with the car came to an end. Lena had a month old new baby boy, her second son. She was now a widow, two children, no job, no husband, no car, and no money.
With a couple of phone calls she was able to arrange to get her old job back at a local Hospital as a nurse, but needed transportation. Their rented home was over 10 miles from her job. She needed a car for everything. Lehigh Acres residents in Florida, don’t walk anywhere. Lena had a good job as a nurse, but since she married Luke, they were able to survive on his one income, so she gave up nursing. They selected a home in the far Lehigh Acres, not near her former employment. In 1996, it seemed to be a good place to raise children. The rent was right, and just a few doors from her Mother who would take care of her new baby while she worked.
She found a used 1969 Mercury Marquis sedan at a local new car dealer. It had a new paint job it looked good. She made a deal Thursday afternoon. The dealer arranged financing and insurance. She took delivery intending to start work the following Monday. On her way home, she noticed a funny feeling in the rear of the car and an unusual clunking sound. She was alarmed and turned around to go back to the dealer. While turning around, the rear wheel fell of the rear right side and spun off into the swamp, leaving her and the car helpless at the edge of the road with no right rear wheel and body damage from sideswiping a telephone pole from the incident.
It seems that in preparing the car for delivery, a tire needed changing and the mechanic failed to tighten the wheel lugs beyond a hand turn. She got on her cell phone, called the dealer who promptly sent a tow truck to take it back to the shop. It would have to sit overnight. The dealer dispatched a car to take her home. Her car had wheel and disc brake damage, body damage and possible body alignment from hitting the pole. Examination showed that the body had serious previous damage and could be a future dangerous problem. She asked for her money back. The dealer laughed and refused. He told her she bought the car as is. It was now her problem. He would only fix the wheel.
Lena couldn’t deal with this problem at this time. She called a friend who was a teacher in “Self Help” classes for adults and unruly children. The friend whose we will call Jane, had a crew of hundreds of her class graduates, who will on call, come to the aid of any mistreated fellow graduates. There was a rally the next evening. About 12 people showed up and the agreed to help.
The following morning, they all converged at the auto agency with signs ready to paint. Jane, speaking for Lena, walked into the owners office, introduced the situation and demanded a rescission of the transaction and her money back. The dealer refused and ordered Jane out of the showroom. Jane advised that he had until 3 PM that day to return the money in cash, cancel any paperwork for the transfer of title and make the transaction disappear. The dealer said, get out of my showroom you B—-. Jane said, Mister, you said the magic word. I will get out. When you have the cash in your hand with evidence to show that you cancelled the deal, bring it to us. There will be 12 Ladies out on the sidewalk at the entrance to your driveway carrying signs telling all passers-by what you did to this lady. Oh! She said, just in case you didn’t notice, Lena is a minority and a widow with two children. I called the WINK TV and the News Press. They are waiting for my call and will all be here at 3:00.
At 2:00 PM, the transaction was cancelled and cash returned to Lena. She bought a Jeep SUV elsewhere and is now a happy camper with her new automobile. It’s good to have friends in the right places.