A little over a year ago, our aging ‘95 Dodge van went kaput while we were driving in Pennsylvania on our way to pick up pullets (young hens). We had a fiasco getting the pullets and our van back home—but God worked out the details and everything worked out fine. The transmission had gone out. It was the fourth transmission we had installed in this van. (We had installed three junkyard transmissions in a row before we finally found one that worked. Plus we had had to replace the transmission when we got the van.) The van had over 275,000 miles on it.
Problem was, this was our egg van, insulated up for hauling eggs to the stores and restaurant that we sell to. Plus we used it to pick up feed. Thankfully, God had provided a nice Chevy conversion van a year earlier that we could use to haul our chicken feed out of Pennsylvania. (It had less than 50,000 miles on it—and we paid about $1,300 for it—a 1995 van.)
I started hitting the roads with the family van, hauling eggs around DC in a conversion van. It was winter, so it didn’t really matter that it wasn’t insulated and set up for egg delivery. But it was the family van, and we were down to only one vehicle.
A few weeks after the Dodge died, we went biking with another family. They had recently purchased another van for their family to replace their Astro. They asked us if we wanted the Astro. Dad said sure :).
It’s a 2000 Astro that had about 136,000 miles on it when we got it. Although it was originally a passenger van, we took the bench seats out and retrofitted it with a cooler to haul eggs in. But first, the van had to be inspected. Our friends graciously let us run the van on their tags until we got it inspected and could transfer the registration to us. But I didn’t want to run around town on somebody else’s insurance, in case we would have an accident. So until we had the van registered in our name, I drove the family van. And that’s when it happened.
I pulled up to a stop sign near a store that we deliver to. The road ran through a residential area and was wide enough to parallel park on. However, at the stop sign, it had recently been marked down to only one lane’s width. I waited for my turn, then began turning. I heard a scraping noise, but at first I just thought that the running board was scraping on the curb. (There actually isn’t a curb there—that’s just the first thing that came to my mind.) Then I realized that it was a car that I was scraping against. But I had already scraped along it. I pulled on past as he blew his horn at me, pulled off to the shoulder, and stopped. The gentleman in the car I had scraped pulled ahead of me and stopped as well.
I had crumpled the front left corner of his car and ripped the bumper loose. The side doors on our van were buckled in and scraped, the running board and fenders were messed up and the rear tire was flat. A police officer came over and took down our information and prepared a sheet for each of us with the other’s insurance information.
You might guess the thoughts that were going through my head as all of this happened. OH, NO! I was thinking it was all my fault. And then I heard the ray of hope as the guy who had been behind us spoke to the other driver: “You weren’t supposed to be there. See the lines?”
I put the spare on the van and headed over to the store to make the delivery. I filed a claim with our insurance agency, called home and told them what had happened, and then proceeded to run my route.
When I got back home, we surveyed the damage. I contacted the insurance company, who had called and asked for my statement. Later on, there was the statement to the other man’s insurance company, and then lots of back and forth between the two companies as we tried to hash out who was at fault. The pictures that the insurance companies had access to did not show the lines at the intersection, which had just been added. If the lines were there, the other driver was at fault (he was sitting in a no-travel zone). If not, I was at fault.
Eventually, they confirmed that the lines were there, and the other insurance company took responsibility for the accident. Next: the settlement.
Dad took the van to a nearby auto repair shop to have it assessed. They claimed it was worth about $1,500, and weren’t even sure what the total cost would be, because they would have to replace the door, and getting the necessary trim and pinstriping could be difficult and expensive, if not impossible.
But Dad thought that the van should be worth more that $1,500, since the mileage was so low. The insurance company ended up sending out an adjuster to look things over. God provided a really nice-sized check in return for them totaling the van. Then he made so that they let us buy the van back—for $288 dollars. I love God’s provision!