Stuck on the 405

By Mark Hopper

Recently, my sister in law’s car broke down while she was driving on the 405 Freeway.  Bummer! She had spent a few days with her grandchildren in San Diego and was driving home to in Bakersfield when her Nissan began to sputter and finally died in the middle of the north bound 405 Freeway!

Thankfully no one hit her as her car slowed to a stop in the middle of afternoon traffic. A helpful stranger pushed her car to the side of the freeway and she called 911 and AAA for help.  The CHP office arrived quickly and parked his cruiser behind her car to protect her from the rush hour traffic. The tow truck arrived and asked her where she wanted to go for repairs.

While all of this is unfolding on the 405, my brother called me and asked if I could go help his wife. He knew she had broken down on the 405 Freeway but he was not sure exactly where she was. After a flurry of cell phone calls with his wife and with me, he decided to have her car towed to our house in Diamond Bar.

He asked me if I knew a good mechanic who could analyze the situation and if his wife could stay with us until her car could be repaired. Unfortunately, when I called a reliable mechanic that we often recommend, he was unable to help. He was overbooked with work and his co-worker was gone for the week.

As the tow truck slowly made its way in rush hour traffic toward Diamond Bar, I realized that it would drive past a Nissan dealer on the 60 Freeway. Maybe he should take the car there and ask them to diagnose the problem? I could meet my sister in law there and we could decide what to do.

We didn’t know how late the car dealer and service department would be open late in the afternoon, but they responded quickly and assured us that they could repair the car quickly. The diagnostics would cost about $125 plus the parts and labor. The service advisor encouraged us to go find some dinner and come back in about an hour. They would call us if there was any unexpected problems.

While we ate dinner, we prayed that the repairs would be done quickly and that it would not cost too much.  My sister in law was hoping to get back on the road and get home so she could teach school the next day.

When we returned to the car dealer, we went to the cashier’s office to pay for the repair work. But, the cashier didn’t have the paper work so she told us to go back and talk with the service advisor. He explained that the repair was actually very simple. An air intake hose had come loose and they actually found the missing part laying on the engine. They simply put the part back together with a new hose clamp!

When we asked how much this cost he said, “No charge”! At first we weren’t sure we heard him correctly – did he say “No charge”? Yes – the missing part was still there and a simple hose clamp reconnected everything and the car was running fine. “No charge”. We were stunned and very thankful for this unexpected outcome. Amazing!

My sister in law was able to get back on the freeway and continue her journey home. She arrived safe and sound later that night. My sister in law had quite an adventure. From broken down in the middle of the 405 Freeway and towed 40 miles to a very helpful car dealer and back on the road without a scratch or paying a penny – pretty amazing.

By the way, did I tell you the name of the service advisor who was so helpful? His name was “Jesus”. No kidding! I thought Jesus was a carpenter by trade, but I guess he is in the car repair business too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd


Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM