By Teresa Cavaliere
West Palm Beach, FL, USA
(credit: Joseph J. Bucheck III)
2012 started with a bang, literally! I was driving the used car I had purchased two years ago with the last four thousand dollars I had to my name. It was during the housing collapse, I had no job and I needed to secure some means of transportation at the very least. With that said, I was driving to work and BANG! I blew something in the engine. I didn’t suspect it was too important until the next morning when I turned the ignition on and all the bells and whistles went off. I still wasn’t too alarmed because something always went off or on with that car, almost as if it had a mind of its own. I drove to my mechanic. As soon as he opened the hood, the sound of his “WOW!” was not what I needed to hear. I had blown a head gasket and the repair would cost two thousand dollars or more.
Cut your losses Teresa is what went through my mind. But, I had to drive that car until I could figure out how I was going to purchase another one with my credit upside down. As luck would have it, the previous week I had been searching the internet to see what was available for someone in my position; someone trying to restore their credit in this horrifying economy. That’s when I came across Volvo’s Fresh Start Program. I was so afraid of what the answer might be if I tried to qualify that I continued to drive my Volvo with the blown engine for several more weeks. It was astounding that this car was still turning on and getting me where I needed to go. I must try to get another Volvo, I thought!
On January sixth, the day of the Epiphany, I found the courage to stop at the local Volvo dealer on my way home from work. I had my daughter with me. We walked in like two meek little mice (because that’s how you feel when you have no money and a piece of $#!& trade-in). One of the sales personnel waved at us with a smile and said, “Come in, I won’t bite.” I apologized for our meekness and began to explain my circumstance. We talked for a bit and then she brought her superior over, after briefly speaking to him in private.
I felt like I died and went to Heaven! These two warm and wonderful people guided me through the process of finding a car that I could afford. I had my limit on what I could spend and how much my monthly payments could be. However, you would have thought I was worth a million dollars the way my daughter and I were treated. It was unbelievable. They not only found a loan that I could afford, but also a car that was in the greatest condition I had seen in the last four years of my poverty-stricken life. No, it wasn’t a Volvo, but it may as well have been a Rolls Royce. I got a Mazda 6 in mint condition, guaranteed by the dealership!
My daughter and I drove off that night standing a lot taller. People can help you if you are willing to compromise, and most of all, ask for their help. I look forward to the day that I can walk back into my Volvo dealership and buy the car of my dreams…ZOOM! ZOOM!