Loaning Out My Jeep

There was a fellow, seemed like a nice guy that worked for one of my competitors. I’d see him at bid openings, but never really knew him. After working for that other company for a while, he decided to go in business.

Bob knew I had started out on a shoestring so he came to me to get some advise. I gave him all the pointers I could think of. I felt it a compliment that the guy came to me. So we became kind of buddy’s. I wasn’t really looking for additional competition, but I was okay that his former company may have been weakened by the turn of events. We never were on very good terms.

There was a developer that he’d gotten to know, that was willing to give him his first job. He took a few guys from his former company and rented some machines and he was off and going. He had always been furnished a company truck, so upon his termination at the other company he was afoot. No exactly afoot, he had a little sports car that he drove around in.

Bob was going to need to get a project or two under his belt before he could jump out and buy a work truck. That little sports car wasn’t projecting the image he was trying to portray. He knew I had a CJ 7 Jeep that I kept parked under the carport at the office, so he asked if he could borrow my Jeep, and he’d even pay me for the use of it once things got going good.

I remembered times when people had helped me in the early years, so I handed over the keys. I thought that was the least I could do to extend a helping hand.

A few months went by and I hadn’t seen Bob, but I talked to him occasionally on the phone. Each time he’d tell me he was getting ready to bring the Jeep back. But it never showed up.

Then it got to where I couldn’t reach him on his mobile phone. It appeared that it had been disconnected. But I had his home phone number. One Saturday morning I called him at home. You could tell I had woke him up. The conversation quickly degenerated into something not so pleasant. I could hear in the background whom I figured was his wife, wanting to know who this rude person was that was hassling him at home. She grabbed the phone away from him and let me know she didn’t appreciate my calling him up to talk business on his time off.

All that led me to realize that Bob probably didn’t have his life in order to be in the construction business.

When I finally convinced that woman to shut up and hand the phone back to Bob, I told him to put the keys in that Jeep and I’d be by shortly to pick it up.

What I didn’t expect was when I got there to pick it up, it appeared he had backed into a tree limb and completely obliterated the cloth top on it. I bet he had used a half dozen rolls of duct tape to try to seal it up.

That’s been about 40 years ago and to this day I’ve never seen nor heard from Bob.

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