Beware: This is a long post. It was such an experience that I could not leave out details.

I am not kidding when I say that the other day I asked loudly how it feels to be towed by a truck, and that today that question was answered.

In a previous post, I have mentioned that our dear Zsa-Zsa, our Hyundai Grace had a bout of breakdown in NLEX. Since then, we never really got to use her regularly because problems in her never seem to end. But lately, we found a good mechanic who helped Zsa-Zsa get back on her feet. The aircon of the van seemed to lose freon, enough to leave us sweating like pigs in a hot day like this. But fair enough, we get to use her everyday to and fro work since its repair last week.

My Kuya Mike (eldest bro) will be moving to BF Paranaque from his current Mandaluyong apartment. He has been wanting to use Zsa-Zsa to move his things little by little but I have been very reluctant because I am unsure if Zsa-Zsa is already in good running condition. But he’s very insistent so much so that I gave in the other night.

He called me yesterday to tell stories about what happened to them en route to Paranaque, that they had a hard time driving the van and the engine stopped more than ten times. I was like, ten times? Barrage of questions came out but he said, oh the van is okay. In fact, it ran very well save for the engine stops we had, the driver wasn’t just used to driving vans kasi daw.

So this morning, hubby and I left early for work because the company has a General Assembly at 7:30A.M. Imagine our dismay when five minutes into driving, well dressed and very fresh, Zsa-Zsa suddenly stops just as we are about to go up the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge. Hubby and I looked at each other, our minds asking each other, did Zsa-Zsa just die on us for no reason at all? I thought, WTF! This is not happening. Hubby pressed on the hazard button, but no, its not working. He tried to start the engine, no nothing, not even a spurting sound. We were on the verge of climbing the bridge such that we were hanging there, like in the movies, when the cars are about to go down the cliff. That feeling too, exactly.

I went down and looked for big stones to prevent the van from going downhill and hitting other cars (at this instance, hubby’s foot is aching for pressing hard on the brakes, because the darn handbrake just wouldn’t work!). I asked myself why aren’t there stones anymore on the streets? Only garbages. Blah! I didn’t give up and saw a big one after I went down the bridge (thankful for the staircase for commuters) and placed it under the tires of Zsa-Zsa. Hubby then happily removed his foot from the brakes.

Some few minutes before I went down to look for stones, a car behind us and an Isuzu Crosswind bumped each other. I imagine the frustrations and dismay of both  drivers. I can see in their faces that they want to blame us but we were in the right most portion of the bridge, and we were not really obstructing their way, if they would be vigilant enough to avoid us.

Then came the endless phone calls to everyone we know about what we can do. Hubby called his brother Patrick and asked for the number of the towing service near our place, Viray Towing Service. BIL then called up the towing service, and voila! About 10 minutes after, the towing service is there.

The MAPSA officer with the name of Navotas on his shirt was very helpful. He even checked the van and told us it was the battery connection which encountered problem. He tried fixing it but we left all our tools at home. Another MAPSA officer then arrived and bullied his way around us, saying that we should be towed by a Makati  accredited towing service. I told him its up to us to choose any towing service we like, after all, this is not illegal parking or anything of that sort. He retorted:

“Ma’am, paliwanag ko po sa inyo ha, meron pong towing ang Makati, kaya dapat yun ang magtow sa inyo. San ba kayo?”

I told him we live in Mandaluyong and that we opted for the Mandaluyong towing service. He insisted that we should take the Makati towing service, even instructing Officer Navotas to call them. He turned to me and asked again, “San ba kayo, ma’am?

At that instance, I realized he was referring to my work, or something like that. So with much bravado, I introduced myself, saying the magic word “A-T-T-Y” and mentioned the company I am connected with. Hubby and I were both wearing the official shirt of the company so I guess he should have known that. After that, he hurriedly left the place, hoping he would go unnoticed. I thought like, what an a-hole. Really, what’s with Filipinos and titles anyways? Maybe if I was just an ordinary employee, he would have bullied us until we are forced to take their towing service.

I then questioned their authority to be there because we were still within Mandaluyong area, thus outside their jurisdiction already. The friendly Officer Navotas then humbly said that they were just assisting us. I almost said, yeah, maybe you, but not that a-hole there. Ugh!

To cut the long story short, we were towed all right. It felt funny, different and embarrassing. Well, not to others, but to ourselves. I felt embarrassed that I have always looked at those people inside towed vehicles in a funny sort of way, now it happened to me. It was tiring and difficult to manage all the stress that comes with it. So from now on, I will not teasingly look at those people anymore, but will empathize with them. We came late for work and missed the General Assembly but we came in with a new experience and new stories to tell.

Lessons I learned today (and tips on what to do if it happens to you):

1. Save the contact numbers of a reliable towing service in your cellphone or planner. Thats the first thing we worried the most. Good thing we have families around who can look for numbers we need on days like this. But to save from hassle, its better to have those numbers handy.

2. You always need cash in case of emergency. If you don’t, you will not be able to remedy the situation. Hubby and I are always used to bringing  just 100 bucks or so in our wallets whenever we drive to work, thinking we would not need money along the way. Today is one of the few days we carried extra cash. Call it tough luck.

3. Negotiate the price of the towing service. I called the number given by my BIL even if he already called it to know how much the fee is. As we all know, towing fees are quite pricey. So when the person I talked to told me that the fee is P1,700.00, I said whhhaaat? For few kilometers? They said they have a fixed price. I haggled with them, and asked for the person who is authorized to give discounts. After much haggling, mentioning that the distance where we will be towed from up to our house is not even 4 kilometers, even saying we are just “kapitbahay”, he agreed to give it to us for P1,200.00. I felt I could have negotiated for a lower price, but I was too stressed to do that so I agreed na rin.

All in all, it was an enlightening experience. But once is enough to last a lifetime. Although hubby and I were laughing about the experience, I wouldn’t want the same experience anymore. At least my question has been answered, and I will stop wondering from now on. 🙂