Every day, newspaper headlines document the latest human cruelty, hypocrisy and depravity.
Often I shake my head and wonder what’s wrong with people. Maybe Thomas Hobbes was right: man is inherently evil.
So it’s nice when I’m able to reaffirm the basic goodness I believe exists in most people. It’s especially nice when it involves my family.
My faith was restored after an episode that started with a call from my 23-year-old daughter, Anna, living 1,800 miles away in Florida.
Her engine warning light had come on. Mechanics at major auto repair places around Orlando wanted hundreds of dollars to repair the problem.
I reminded her what our neighborhood mechanics, Jay and Randy, told us when she left months ago in her little Honda.
There’s a bad sensor that needs to be replaced, but the engine is fine. They simply reset the warning light and let us put off the repair until we won the lottery.
But Anna couldn’t find a mechanic in Orlando willing to make the simple fix.
How could she find someone she could trust to diagnose the sensor and save her a bundle?
So I called the Orlando Sentinel for the same reason people in the Pikes Peak region routinely call me and my colleagues: To get help.
Daily I field calls for help with a rogue homeowners association or a high utility bill or a neighbor whose dog barks all night.
In this case, I needed help and called a place I knew I could trust: a newsroom. I asked for the city desk and reporter Hank Curtis answered. I explained my daughter’s dilemma.
Hank thought a moment before giving me a name and a phone number of his personal mechanic, Allen.
His garage was 30 miles or so away from Orlando, Hank cautioned.
I told him my daughter will drive 30 miles to buy a Disney pin. No problem.
Hank cautioned that Allen is a shade-tree mechanic, not some fancy place with WiFi and serving lattes in the waiting room.
Again, I assured him we needed only an honest mechanic. Those amenities are nice but not necessary.
I’m happy to report Anna found Allen and received the kind of care I always get from Jay and Randy.
He changed the oil, lubed the chassis, rotated the tires and even fixed a bent rod.
Best of all, he confirmed the engine was fine and the sensor was malfunctioning. He reset it and charged a reasonable price.
Later, Anna asked me how I knew to call Hank. I told her I’d never met Hank. But I’ve met plenty of newspaper reporters over the years and I’ve learned something.
Newspaper reporters don’t lie to you.
And most enjoy helping others, whether it’s keeping folks informed about City Hall, giving out football score or spreading the word about a hot new restaurant.
So thanks Hank. I knew I could count on you.