Costa Rica “Nice”

A few days ago I took my car to the neighborhood garage because a headlight was out.  A mechanic stopped what he was doing, asked how he could help, opened the hood, removed the burned out bulb and handed it to me.  He told me to go to a certain store that I’d never heard of and didn’t know where it was located.  So, he got in the car and directed me to the store.  We went in, he showed the clerk the bulb, I paid for a new one, we went back to the car and he installed the new bulb.  I took him back to the garage and asked him, “How much?” and he just shook his head and got out of the car.  His boss was busy working on a car, but looked up and smiled at me when I returned with his employee.  The car I drive was built in Canada so its lights come on with the ignition.  Since it was still daylight when I returned home, I didn’t notice that the mechanic had actually turned the lights on and they were still on when I got out of the car.  The next morning I discovered the battery was dead.  I thought it was strange that the alarm didn’t beep when I pushed the button on the remote.  After trying a few times, I decided to risk setting off the alarm and opened the door.  Nothing happened.  Nothing happened when I turned the key in the ignition, either.   People were waiting in their truck to follow me somewhere so I ran to tell them my car was dead.  They said to hop in (behind the front seats of their pick-up) so I shut the garage door and we took off. That afternoon, it poured, as it has nearly every day for what seems like forever.  When I returned home, I realized I’d left the car door open and the driver’s seat was soaked and there was a puddle on the carpeted floor.  Since I still had to deal with the dead battery, I walked up to the mechanic and asked him if he could help me.  We walked back to my house – him carrying a battery – and he hooked up the live battery to the car’s dead battery with jumper cables.  With the electricity flowing again, the alarm went off at a deafening volume.  Since the car was running, the mechanic disconnected the battery and told me to let the car run for a half hour or so, which I did.  (This time he accepted 3000 colones – less than $6.00 – for his trouble.)  Half an hour later I went outside to turn off the car and discovered it had shut itself off and was still dead.  The following day a friend brought over a charger that plugged into an outlet.  After about 5 hours I disconnected the cables and the car started on its own.  Whew. It’s great to have a car, but buses might be more dependable. They certainly cost less.

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