Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

No good deed goes unpunished

May 13, 2015
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Recently a friend called from the frozen north and asked me for a favor. "Sure" I said. He wanted to borrow a boat trailer from another friends' house (who was also up north) to use to take a boat somewhere for a different friend, and would I mind checking the trailer out to see if it was road-worthy. "Sure" I said. But I couldn't get away to go pick up the trailer, so he called another friend who said he would do it a soon as he could, but he was busy for a few days. When this last friend finally picked up the trailer, he forgot to fully retract the jack that is on the tongue of the trailer, and when he pulled away the jack hit the ground and was bent beyond repair.

He dropped it at my shop with the bent jack, and said he would buy another one and put it on himself. I proceeded with the necessary repairs to make the rest of the trailer ready for the road. When he finally brought the new jack, we found it wouldn't fit on the trailer. The trailer was built in a way that required a special kind of jack, which he couldn't locate. We decided together that we could "make it" fit. After about an hour of drilling and cutting and grinding the two of us managed to get the jack installed satisfactorily. If that much work had been done for a customer, there might be some income from it, but since it was all done as a favor for a friend, it was all outgo. Friendship is a valuable commodity. Sometimes it's hard to afford it.

Many years ago, when I was going to Fort Myers High School, the Fort Myers Junior Chamber of Commerce sponsored a "Teenage Safe Driving Rodeo." It was a fine effort to encourage safe driving among our hair-brained younger set. Like me. The local Plymouth dealer provided brand new cars and various other businesses kicked in prize money, and there was going to be run-offs to finally come up with a state champion. Contestants had to take a written exam about safe driving, and also drive around a parking lot through an obstacle course set up with traffic cones, involving backing through a slalom, parallel parking, stopping smoothly within inches of a line on the ground, and things like that. Speed was not a factor, only accuracy and safety. The winner was to get a $50 savings bond and a trip to the next competition, all expenses paid from the charitable donations of local sponsors.

To make a short story longer, I won the Fort Myers event. I was then driven by a local JC member to Jacksonville, a five-hour trip, for the state competition. When we got there, we discovered that we had missed a regional competition that had been held in Sarasota. Our JC guys had overlooked it. I got a bus ticket home, which was a 12-hour ride. All the money spent on the "rodeo" in Fort Myers was pretty much wasted, except for my savings bond. I enjoyed spending that. The year was 1961.

I still avoid Sarasota, and I try to avoid bus rides. Call it sour grapes if you want to.

--Larry DeHays is the author of the book "The Car Care World", a compilation of his most popular columns. It is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, or at the DeHays Automotive office, 17617 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers Beach. He has been an ASE Certified Technician for 37 years and an arbitrator for the Florida Lemon Law for 16 years. For more information go to or



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web