Give thanks for small blessings

Like thieves who fix your car and husbands who know when to leave  

Blog Entry November 06, 2015

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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Random act of kindness

Southern hospitality is alive and well in Texas, even among car thieves. 

 

Take the guys who stole the Peters family’s 2004 Dodge Durango off the side of the road. It had already suffered deer damage, was missing a window and required a screwdriver to start the ignition. 

 

In June, the Durango broke down during Mr. Peters’ morning commute, and he was forced to abandon it until he could raise the funds for a tow. In the meantime, thieves beat him to it. 

 

A month later, Mrs. Peters was on her way to the grocery store when she spotted a Durango leaving a gas station with similar deer dents in the door. 

 

Shocked to find the SUV after it had been gone for so long, she was determined not to lose it again. So she called police while following the Durango, giving turn-by-turn directions for several miles until officers were able to catch up and make an arrest. 

 

When the Peters’ got their vehicle back, they discovered that the thieves had fixed the issues that left it on the side of the road in the first place. 

 

They repaired the drive shaft, installed three new wheels, and even left some complimentary meth in the center console. 

 

Split personalities

Psychologists from Goodyear and the London School of Economics and Political Science have examined how we interact with one another on the road and have identified seven distinct driving personalities.

 

“These different types of personalities represent different outlets that drivers use to deal with their frustrations and strong feelings,” explained Dr. Chris Tennant, a social psychologist who led the research project. 

 

The Avoider is overly cautious, considering every other driver a dangerous hazard to avoid; the Escapee talks or listens to music in order to deal with the stress of driving, which also makes them oblivious to others; and the Know-It-All feels that other drivers are incompetent and often will shout condescendingly at them. 

 

The Philosopher accepts other drivers’ mistakes and moves on without reacting negatively, while the Punisher wants to put other drivers in their place and isn’t afraid of confrontation. 

 

The Teacher sticks to the rules of the road and criticizes everyone else who doesn’t, and finally, the Competitor needs to display dominance over other drivers and expects to be in complete control of surrounding traffic.

 

Tennant said no one is entirely one of these personalities. In fact, most of us exhibit a few in our interactions behind the wheel, depending, of course, on the situation and the size of the other driver.

 

Until jail do us part

A Tennessee man claims that he stole a truck in order to go to jail, just so that he could get a break from his wife. 

 

When issues came up at home that made Hayden Vandiver ready to temporarily relocate, he figured the free food and lodging at jail sounded nice. He just had to figure out a way to get in. 

 

Then Vandiver remembered his old boss at American Stripers in Columbia. He hadn’t worked there in more than a year, but he still held a grudge against the company owner for what he considered poor treatment. 

 

So in order to get arrested, the 51-year-old broke into his old workplace and drove off with the owner’s $60,000 2012 Dodge 2500. 

 

He didn’t stop there, though. Vandiver then drove the expensive truck more than a mile and a half into a creek—with the doors open—until it couldn’t drive anymore. 

 

“I did what a lot of his employees want to do to him,” Vandiver told News 2 in Nashville. ”It made me feel great because I know it will hurt him. He’ll come in the next day and his little baby ain’t sitting there, and it is 4 ft in a creek.”

 

The plan worked. Vandiver was arrested on charges of burglary, vandalism and drunk driving, and is currently enjoying an extended break from his wife.

 

“She is having a bad time right now. She knows I done this to get away from her,” he said.

 

Even now that he’s locked up in an orange-striped jumpsuit, Vandiver says he’s happy with how everything turned out. Well, almost.

 

“The only thing I didn’t like was swimming out of [the creek],” he said. R&B

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