There are some who will read this who were there the night this happened…and I know they found it funny, but I can tell you, at the time, and for a long time afterwards I felt sick to the core!
I was working in a Used Car yard in Auckland back in the mid-90s that had three sites. One of the sites had completed a record month so there were drinks to be had at that yard to celebrate. We drank and were merry for a few hours before someone suggested we get cabs and go into town to carry on. Seemed like a great idea. I had my work car parked in the carpark of a bank right next door, and it was an unwritten thing between us and them that we could park there as long as it wasn’t during work hours, and seeing as I wouldn’t be back to collect my car until sometime the following day, I went to move it around the back of the yard for the night. I climbed in and started it, pulled the lever (auto) into reverse when a TXT came through on my cell from the better half. I pulled the lever into neutral and responded to the TXT telling her my plans for the night. Finished, I pulled the lever back again into reverse and hit the gas…only it wasn’t reverse! In the course of those few minutes, putting it into neutral was forgotten, so one ‘click’ back in my mind was reverse when in fact over the course of the gear shifts, I was now in drive!
The car went forward into the bank window!!!! The glass completely shattered (but held), and I just sat there, completely stunned…the headlights shining into the bank and lighting up the whole scene like a Christmas tree…the guys from the yard ran over, and apart from the obvious “shit!” and “f–k!” from them, there suddenly came a roar of laughter from a few of them…yeah, real fucken funny!
Jason told me to get it round the back as quick as, which I did, and locked it up. Coming back out front, a cop car just pulled out of the gas station across the road not making me feel and better…the guys said not to worry, and we piled into our cabs and went to town.
The following morning I went into the yard to pick up my car, and to see for myself if it had really happened..yep, it wasn’t a bad dream, well it was, but real. There were a few of the other dealers standing by as the glass was being replaced (a big pane too!) and another company were there starting on installing bollards. One young fellow from a neighbouring yard looked at me, and I think he knew straight away; “These are going to be called ‘Alf Busters’ in this street”. Yeah, another bloody comedian!
I sometimes wonder what the bank thought had happened…a smash and grab, without the grab?
"Can I please get directions?"
As dealers driving non-registered cars, we were required to screw on ‘dealer plates’ (yellow with an X) and were only required to carry one…I carried mine on the back of the car, so any cameras in the bank wouldn’t have seen a plate at all…apart from those that were there, I hadn’t told this story to anyone until the Statute of Limitations was up…