Back in 2008, when I was working for Lehman Brothers (Aurora Loan Services, their mortgage subsidiary), I was traveling from Scottsbluff, NE to Denver, CO for our Customer Service monthly business review.
Instead of renting a car (which I could easily have done), I decided to take my own car (a new Honda Accord) in order to save the company a few bucks.
Boy, was that a bad decision…and in more than one way, too!
Lemme tell ya…
I set out from Scottsbluff, NE (Nebraska…New England isn’t a state) around 9:00 AM for a 1:00 meeting that afternoon. I figured that at this time of the day, I’d face very little traffic on Route 25 once I entered Colorado.
These places are not exactly near each other…3 1/2 hours is the normally-expected drive (with no traffic jams).
Everything was progressing pretty well as I made my way down south through Nebraska, then onto I-80 West into Wyoming, before finally hitting Route 25.
I then got onto 25 & headed south, an almost straight shot to the office (Aurora’s HQ) right outside Denver
It was a beautiful clear day.
A few clouds appeared along the way, nothing serious, though. But, suddenly, it began getting eerily dark.
In the middle of the day!
And then it started raining…and within minutes, the rain turned to hail!
Ping-pong ball-sized hail!
It was like Hell suddenly opened up & decided to just swallow up Colorado!
With the hail pounding down on my car, I finally made it to a highway overpass, under which I sought shelter, along with the other few cars on the highway.
Everything was howling & you could actually hear this low rumbling sound not too far off.
Apparently, a tornado was blowing by…blowing by, like, RIGHT HERE!
It was absolutely 😱!!!
But after a few minutes (that really seemed like F – O – R – E – V – E – R), everything cleared up as quickly as it started.
With the wide-open areas bordering the highway, I couldn’t see any visible damage to anything.
But there was about 4-6” of hail sitting on the roadway.
I finally ventured out & made my way into Denver with about 10 minutes to spare.
While I felt that I narrowly escaped a Wizard of Oz re-enactment, nobody else at our HQ seemed aware of what had just occurred!
Listening to the news on the way back, I learned that 4 people died who were in the path of this tornado!
“In the following year, on May 22, 2008, another killer EF-3 tornado struck Colorado, but this time, it was much further north and west in the town of Windsor, located along the Interstate 25 urban corridor between Denver and Fort Collins.
After the meeting, I inspected my car for possible damage & lo and behold, I had hundreds of tiny pock marks all over my car.
And now for the worst part. (Note: Since I narrowly escaped with my life, that was considered a good, though harrowing, experience.)
The business refused to cover any of the damage I incurred! I was astounded…and pretty pissed!
“I took my own vehicle to save this place a few bucks & now you won’t reimburse me for the damage i suffered when I was clearly on the road for a specific business purposes??? Really?
“I’m sorry, but the teleport machine was out for repairs!”
I couldn’t believe the stance they were taking!
I hadda pay for all repairs out of my own pocket as I carried a high deductible & didn’t want my rates skyrocketing for something I couldn’t have avoided.
I should’ve pursued the matter even further…legally…but suing your employer, even in Small Claims Court, is probably not the best course of action, especially when you’re “stranded” out in a pretty remote area of Nebraska.
Hell, the town was so small that I would go to Walmart regularly…for socialization purposes! If I needed 14 items, I would only purchase 10, so I had another excuse to return in another day or so!
On Sunday evenings, I’d often drive 40 minutes to Torrington, Wyoming…to get Burger King! (I had just recently learned that Wyoming was actually a state!)
Many a time I would drive down to Denver with a couple of friends to watch a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field or a Denver Nuggets basketball game at the Pepsi arena or go to a concert somewhere in the city.
(I had tickets for 3 different concerts in Denver over the years, but none of the experiences were memorable.
At least not in a good way!
We went to see George Carlin, by far, my all-time favorite comedian.
He sucked. His warm-up act was 10x funnier. (Little did we know, but it was one of his very last shows ever as he passed away a few months later.)
Then there was the Bon Jovi concert where I had 3 FABULOUS seats at the Pepsi Arena! However, the 2 ladies from Scottsbluff that were supposed to drive down & meet me never made it. One had an attack (I believe, appendicitis) & the other took her to the hospital.
I don’t know about you, but being at a concert BY MYSELF, with an empty seat on each side, was somewhat pitiful.
And the third time, I had excellent tickets to see Sublime at the Red Rocks Amphitheater (an historic venue carved out of rock formations…great place for a concert), but sadly, Trisha’s Mom passed away & naturally, I hadda give the tickets away.
Trisha is my ex-fiancé.
As I had lived my entire life in NY & San Antonio, I really wasn’t used to not having many choices in life regarding entertainment.
I just couldn’t believe it that Aurora wouldn’t reimburse me for damages incurred.
Yeah, should’ve rented a car had I known.
Thanks so much once again for listening to me rant!