I drove back and sure enough, my new, used Jeep Grand Cherokee was nose-first into a tree about 12 feet from where I parked it, down a steep embankment. Not that big of a deal but everyone in the newsroom and production and weather departments were outside looking at it. A few people had their cameras out snapping a picture. I groaned internally, got out my keys and went over to try to drive it in reverse back up the hill. No dice. I put it in 4 wheel drive low gear and still nothing. One of the back tires had no traction and it was not going to move.
Getting out of the car, I noticed again all of my co-workers staring at me. Wow. It gave me a moment to realize what it must feel like during a news event when all of the cameras and journalists are looking at the suspect. It is not a nice feeling. I smiled and said, "Okay, can you guys just go back inside?" They were kind enough to disperse and I calmly walked back to the news vehicle and called my insurance company. Here's where it gets interesting.
I sold my Ford Explorer on May 21st to a nice family as you may have read here. The next day I called Geico to take the vehicle off of my policy. The helpful agent recommended I keep liability insurance while I was searching for another car. I agreed to that, my policy was updated and we hung up. On May 26th when I purchased my new used car, I phoned Geico again and asked that the coverage I had on my Explorer be reinstated as the exact same coverage for my current vehicle. The agent kindly read off all of the coverage I agreed to and even told me what my payments would be (which were the same as the Explorer). Congratulating myself on a job well done, we hung up.
Today, when I called Geico (while on my way to cover a raging house fire with injury) the agent informed me I didn't have emergency roadside assistance because my coverage was only LIABILITY. I said that wasn't correct and that I added collision and comprehensive coverage back to the policy on May 27th at 10:53 a.m. with agent Amanda (I write these things down). After holding for 7 minutes and being upset about my car against a tree, the agent explained there was nothing she could do because I only had liability coverage. I asked to talk to a manager. 11 minutes later, supervisor Wanda came on the phone. I explained the situation again. She was ugly to me and so unhelpful that I realized I was wasting my time completely. State Farm has excellent customer service so then and there (while walking up the street to the house fire) I called and got a new policy. (Note: Geico has policies that are $6 lower monthly than State Farm but the customer service is obviously lacking. Consider changing from Geico now. I was horrified at how I was treated after being an excellent customer for years.)
My photog and I were now trapped on the dead-end street where the fire was going on because fire crews had to roll out 3,000 feet of hose to tap a water main on Broadway. See the video of the fire here. I was having a really bad morning. Luckily I quickly got in touch with Fountain City Towing and had a tow truck on standby. They couldn't get my car out without my keys and they were in my purse in the news car which was stuck on Curtis Lane. Shawn and I did an interview, shot a standup and a standup tease and finally decided to take one of the news cars and leave the other one because crews would be there for hours blocking us in. We went by the towing company, I gave them my keys and paid $60 and we went on to our second story of the day. This was all before 12 noon.
When we finally made it back to the station under deadline pressure, I noticed my Jeep Grand Cherokee was parked in the parking lot, looking normal. There is no damage to the front bumper, thank goodness. There is however, extensive damage to my sanity. Just another day in paradise although I will say, 11 years as a TV news journalist have given me excellent problem solving skills and I can usually stay calm under pressure. It is just you, dear reader, that takes the brunt of my whining. Thank you for reading.