Friday, August 7, 2009

I won a lottery today

Well, sort of. God was smiling on me this morning. After I entered the parking lot at work this morning, a strange thing happened. I turned the steering wheel -- and nothing happened. I was moving very slowly, as I was turning to enter the lane about 50 feet from where I usually park. I stopped and didn't quite realize what had happened until I started backing up and consciously turned the wheel. It was then I heard the drag link (kind of like a tie rod) dragging on the ground. Holy smokes! Two minutes earlier I had been on the interstate going about 70mph. Now I had a 100% steering failure. I left my truck where it was, as I couldn't move it to a better place and went in to start my day. I would talk to a few of our steering experts about it when they arrived. Note: the item that failed isn't an item we make or supply. We make the steering gear to which the part that failed attaches. The part that broke was a Pitman arm ball joint; the ball popped out of the socket, something which should never happen, especially on a 2002 vehicle with 93,000 miles..

As I went through my daily routine of stuff, I started giving some thought to the bullet I had just dodged. Had it broken at 70mph, the drag link would have hit the ground and turned my wheels all the way to one direction even faster than I could do it by turning the steering wheel, and I figure if I missed the sparse 5:40 am traffic I would have careened off the newly constructed concrete walls/sound barriers before rolling violently to a stop. I would have ended up in the hospital or more likely a morgue, without ever realizing what had happened.

Further, I had ridden my bike to work a couple of days this week, and was driving around with the kids the past two afternoons. Had I not ridden my bike, the failure might have occurred with them in the car.

And the failure happened in the best possible place. I was able to get a part at a nearby auto parts store, and someone at work fixed it in less than fifteen minutes. Had it happened anywhere else, I would have had to have it towed. Even at home, I didn't have a tool to take the ball out of the Pitman arm.

I was very lucky. Yes, I think God was watching over me today.