Sunday, November 09, 2008


The last three Chevy Blazers we've had have been equipped with OnStar. I love having OnStar in my car. It makes me feel safe and more connected with services I might need in case of emergency. When we travel I can easily find things like hotels, restaurants, points of interest, less congested routes, and local radio stations. In addition, I can talk on the phone hands-free to whomever I want. It's comforting.

I like it so much that in my fantasy camp mind, I've imagined myself in one of their radio commercials. You've heard them, actual taped conversations with an OnStar operator talking with victims of an accident. The commercial ends with the OnStar client thanking OnStar and wondering what they ever did without it.

I thought my 15 minutes of fame had come one summer when I needed OnStar for the first time. I was working on a Mission Project with my church. Families from our church were building a home for a family who lived in the heavily wooded mountains of Pa.

Our group traveled to the area and set up camp for a week. Everyone, no matter how young or old, had a job. Kids and adults hammered nails into the studs, guided the roof frame into place, drilled holes for the wiring, rolled on and attached the insulation, hung the dry wall, shingled the roof, installed the windows, laid tile on the kitchen floor, installed appliances, carried the supplies, etc, etc. You get the picture. Many hands doing many jobs.

So, what was my job? Feeding all those many hands three meals and snacks daily. And I was happy to do that. I can't hammer in a nail straight and I end up wearing more Spackle than I put on the walls. People laugh at me when I try any of the jobs...with a smile on their face and love in their heart, I'm sure.

Anyway, on this particular day, our first full day at camp, my friend and I were up at the crack of dawn preparing breakfast in the kitchen of a youth camp nearby. When everyone had eaten we cleaned up and began preparing sandwiches, drinks and snacks for lunch, all the while driving coolers of water, lemonade, and ice tea back and forth to the workers. Around noon, with lunch for 125 hungry workers securely packed in the back of the Blazer we headed to the work site to feed the masses.

We arrived on the single lane mountain road in front of the work site. Our plan was to stop there, unload the food and then park the Blazer out of the way so we could set up lunch. We jumped out of the Blazer and slammed the doors, quickly going around to open the hatch and get the lunches out of the back. When I slammed my door, I heard a very quiet almost inaudible, click and I knew immediately that all the doors had locked automatically. The keys were in the ignition, my bag was on the front seat and lunches for 125 hungry men, women and children were locked in the back as the temperature inside the Blazer on that hot summer day began to climb.

Lots of bad words were flying through my head, but since this was a church trip that's where they stayed, unlike the Mouse in the House incident of a few years back.

So instead, I remembered I had OnStar! Great! But, the number and my OnStar card were in the locked car. Luckily my friend had OnStar on her car and she did have the brains to take her bag with her when she hopped out of the passenger side. She had her cell phone and the OnStar number with her.

The conversation between OnStar and me went something like this:

OS: "Hello, this is Kelly from OnStar how can I assist you?"
Me: "Hi Kelly, this is LJ and I've locked the keys in my Blazer"
OS: "Okay, you've locked your keys in the Blazer and you want us to unlock it for you?"
Me: "Yes"
OS: "No problem, LJ, we do this all the time."
(Whew, I thought, I'm not the only idiot and they can fix this and I can do their next commercial. That fantasy camp mind of mine works 24/7.)
I gave Kelly all the information she needed to unlock my Blazer.

OS: "LJ? Just step away from the car leaving about four feet between you and the car and in about five minutes we'll have the car doors unlocked." And thank you for using OnStar. If we can be of assistance in the future please don't hesitate to call. Have a nice day! Goodbye."

About now the kids began to realize their lunch had arrived but there was a problem. Nothing makes kids hungrier than knowing the food is near but they can't have it. Suddenly about 50 starving kids began circling the Blazer like hungry tigers circling wounded prey, peering in the windows to see what they couldn't have.

My friend announced in a big, booming voice, "Step away from the Blazer boys and girls, so the OnStar satellite can unlock the doors."
The kids were intrigued and immediately became quiet as they backed away from the car. I could see in their eyes they were thinking a beam from the Mother Ship was about to descend on the Blazer, light it up and unlock the doors.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing. No Mother Ship. No beam. No magical door opening.

We called OnStar again and the kids began to move towards the Blazer.

OS: "Hello this is Donald from OnStar how can I help you?"
Me: "Hello Donald, this is LJ. I just called a few minutes ago about having locked the keys in my car. Do you have my information in front of you."
OS: "Let me look and see what I can find. Please hold.
Oh great, I'm on hold, the ice is melting, the lunch is getting warm and Elvis's "All Shook Up" is playing in my ear. How appropriate.
OS: Thank you for holding LJ. I see you've locked your keys in the car, is that correct?"
Me: "Yes, keys are locked in the Chevy Blazer. All doors are locked. Yes, everyone is standing four feet away from the Blazer. We're still waiting for you to unlock the doors."
OS: "Okay, Please hold."
(In my head I'm practicing my lines for the commercial while I'm on hold with Donald. Kids are inching closer to the Blazer.)
OS: "LJ may I ask, where exactly are you?"
Me: (Giving detailed information about our location.) ..."and we are on a small single lane road surrounded by the tallest most beautiful trees in the state of Pa. It's pristine and beautiful. (You can hear a script forming here for the OnStar commercial, can't you?)
OS: So, you are in the woods, surrounded by tall trees?
Me: "Yes!" "Yes we are, we're building a house for... (This was going to be in my commercial script too. A mention of our church and all the good things we do.)
OS: Interrupting..."LJ, The OnStar satellite can't find you if you are in the woods. We're sorry. Thank you for using OnStar. If we can be of assistance in the future please don't hesitate to call. Have a nice day! Goodbye."

And goodbye to the commercial in my fantasy camp mind as it disappeared with the click of the OnStar person hanging up."

There was only one thing left to do and why didn't I do this first?

Me: "Okay," I shouted, "You two older boys over there, get a crow bar out of the tool truck, plus a few shims. Does anybody have a coat hanger? Let's get these doors open the old-fashioned way so everybody can have lunch."
Big cheer from the starving masses and in five minutes everybody was eating.

Do I hear Hallelujah, Amen?!

1 comment:

Aislyn said...

ok...ok....I'll start this book so we can have our 15 minutes...