By Nathan Frank
New Years Eve 2007 will go down as one of the craziest nights of my life.
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It was a severely cold night as my brother, Byron and his future wife Jasmin and I were driving to the Kindersley Wal-Mart from our parents farm near Eatonia. The 30-minute drive was uneventful until we were a few hundred metres from the store.
“Where is that smell coming from?” I asked. “It smells like burnt rubber.”
I figured some farmer was burning some rubber on the outskirts of town. Thinking nothing of it, I parked my white mustang in the parking lot and walked into the store. I headed straight for the entertainment section, but was stopped in my tracks before even reaching my destination.
“Code Red Alert! Code Red Alert!” I heard blaring from the store intercom. “Code Red Alert! Would the owner of a white-top mustang go to the parking lot.”
I quickly clued in that they were referring to my new car — my first car. I ran out the doors and looked to the left. The hood of my car was engulfed in twenty feet of flames.
Chaos ensued around me. Everyone moved their vehicles as far away as possible from my purebred Mustang, which I bought two months prior.
As I ran toward my car, I heard someone yell at me, “Stay away from the car! It’s going to blow up!”
I kept my distance, called 911, all while my fingers and ears were freezing. A citizen, who told me he was a fireman approached me and ensured me that if I move quickly I could pull most of my things from the car. Fearing for my life, I pulled out my hockey equipment and tools from the trunk and put them in a shopping cart, and then I ran a safe distance from my car.
Before the fire truck rolls into the parking lot, the tires that are less than a month old blow up underneath my car. Within five minutes the firemen douse my car in water.
The first car I ever owned sat like a whimpering, mutilated wet puppy, as I sat in utter disbelief and shock in the warm cab of the fire-truck.
As I sat in my dad’s car on the drive back to my parents home, the silence still lingered. I was not sad, but more surprised than anything. The car that I somehow thought made me attractive and cool was gone and there was nothing I could have done about it.
I found out a few days later that my car had a defect in the ignition. All '96 Mustangs had the same defect, however the previous owner never took it into the Ford dealership to fix it. Nor did the dealership tell me this when they sold me the car.
A month later I used the insurance money I received back to buy an entirely different car — a 2001 Mazda Protege. It was previously owned by an elderly couple who had barely driven it. Well, at least that’s what the salesman told me.
My new car wouldn’t impress the ladies and looking back I doubt a '96 Mustang probably impressed many people either. But, to be honest, who cares? When I was 20-years-old, image is what I cared about. Yet, I really shouldn’t have.
There are more important things to put value in than a '96 Mustang.
Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263