Dear Mr George Miklas,
I’d like to tell you a story…it’s about you, and I’m posting it here because I would like for others to know about it…to know about you, actually.
When I met you, a few days ago, to purchase that thing you were selling, I was a little skeptical of you selling it for so cheap.
Here's a little back-story. I’m what’s called a bereavement doula. I work to support women who are in the space where birth meets death - death during pregnancy or soon after birth.
I run an event called Let Me See My Baby where I facilitate a panel for a number of hours shedding light on a range of topics (like fear, blame, guilt, grief) in the hope that communities may feel like they’re one step closer to being able to support one another with confidence and dignity, when a baby dies.
Anyway, I’m taking to the road this year, for the whole year, with my kids, to present the event in each state.
Why am I telling you all this?
The Tarago that I’d spent many years carting around foster kids and giving birth in (ok, I only gave birth in it once) had gone to Tarago heaven so the search was on for a vehicle that would fit the bill.
After many failed leads, Gumtree led me to purchase a Ford wagon. Kinda boring…definitely felt bad about being a Toyota traitor…but I thought there’d at least be plenty of room in the boot.
And yet...there isn't really enough room...
So here’s where things got interesting. I'd seen those weird objects that sit on cars and look like they’d fit a guitar in at best and kinda left the rest of us wondering why you wouldn’t just shove whatever tiny item is sitting in there on your kids lap....
...however, I came to realise my options were limited as I would also be carting around an enclosed trailer with all the event stuff...
And this is what happened.
Gumtree was logged on to again, and I searched ‘car pods’. Not much came up. A handful of people were trying their luck at hiring theirs out….a few more for sale interstate…proving my point that they were, in fact, just weird looking guitar holders.
Then I saw one you were selling, George.
You lived in Canberra, and you were selling what you called a Ski and baggage pod.
A Volkswagen Ski Pod.
Looked cool….longer than a guitar….I could pretend I was going skiing….Volkswagen and falcon wagon…matchy-matchy…
I took Gabriel with me to your house the next afternoon and you showed us the pod. That’s when things turned a little pear shaped…
You tried to show me how to fit it to the roof racks of the wagon…You probably sensed I wasn't knowledged up in the roof rack department...
…and we both came to the realisation that I'd purchased the car minus the key to unlock the roof racks on top…and this meant we were faced with a little problem…
You suggested that I ‘just bring it to your workshop tomorrow’ and you’ll see if you can work something out….so I did….
We pulled up to your ‘workshop’ the next afternoon…myself and my three cherubs. Miss Annie had written you a thank-you letter the evening before, inspired by me explaining to her that a man named George was going to be helping us with the car the next day.
I quietly hurried my tribe to clamber out of the wagon, George, and I suddenly realised I may had gotten myself into a little situation.
Cars were everywhere…but not just any cars…there were enormous vehicles every way we looked, with badges of fast animals and symbols that I would not dream of bringing my (beautiful) children anywhere near….the children, of course, were wide-eyed star-struck... trying to touch, open, climb on and put their signature lollipop finger-prints over each of the cars as we walked...not past them, but through them…because, you see, in our haste we had managed to walk into the wrong door and had found ourselves in the middle of the showroom, with your staff looking over at us in both confusion and kindness. latest fashionable evening party wears
One of these staff then asked if he could help and I asked for you…at which the guy sweetly kindof tilted his head and slowly said “George …who? Do you have an appointment?”
All I had to respond with was ‘George with no hair’.
It was at that point that I realised you were pretty important to the company....it wasn't until later that I learnt you actually also owned the three car yards to the left of us...as well at the three to the right...
You walked in then, and fussed over your 'thank you' card from Annie. I know you couldn’t make out the words, but you pretended you could anyway and Annie felt SO appreciated at all her hard work drawing a picture of you in a dress fixing our car (she thought you would appreciate wearing one of her fairy dresses for the pic).
Anyway, back to the roof rack issue. We needed to pick the roof rack locks so I could then fit the ski pod to them... we were told was going to take a few hours for your guys to pick the locks…..
So, what did you do? You gave us a courtesy car.…while your team of good people trying to sell your shiny cars...could fuss over our wagon.
Herein lies a situation you probably didn’t notice. I was quickly trying to get the carseats out of the wagon before you changed your mind when I went to open back door of our new courtesy car and low and behold…there was no door handle. No handle to open the door. Zilch in the handle department. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one your staff walking over to me and I knew I had about .02 of a second to work out what was going on…when he smiled, reached over and into what looked like the window frame and opened the door. Like we were entering a spaceship.
I smiled one of those ‘please don’t hold that against me’ smiles and loaded the kids into what was the first, and probably last vehicle that we’ll ever experience that was built a matter of months ago, had next to zero k’s on the dash and did I mention it opened like a spaceship…
We were organised and in…so clearly the universe assumed that meant we needed another situation to overcome. There appeared to be no ignition hole thing. Switch. Like, nowhere to actually put the key….and you seemed to read my mind, calmly explain how to turn this beast on... made sure there was enough petrol..and suggested we return in a few hours.
I won’t lie George. I daydreamed while I drove off. I mean, you were so trusting and generous that you had no details about me…at all…and into the sunset I could have gone. Like that. Spaceship and all. In reality, though, the car probably had wings that came out on demand and flew it back to the dealership when called..but…it was nice to dream.
I returned to the car yard after a few hours of blissfully pretending I was the owner of a spaceship car with no ignition switch and looked over to where the wagon was parked, feeling a bittersweet pinch of sadness that reality was about to kick in….and gratefulness that the roof rack locks had been successfully picked…..
…turns out negative on the lock picking though...your guys instead just installed a new lock system on the roof racks and quickly slid the new keys onto my keyring.
And yet! It turned out we weren’t done at the dealership yet George, because meanwhile, you picked up that there was possibly an issue with the wagon due to a light that was showing on the dash….so off to another department we went, who diagnosed the light…did their thing…and now I have no light showing and no issues with the wagon.
We went back to your house to collect the ski pod that evening, where you attached it to the wagon yourself, all the while entertaining Gabriel’s demands of wanting to ‘help’ and didn’t once flinch when the girls started riding their scooters around your own shiny car parked nearby.
George, you’re just a good person. You had no idea about the Let Me See My Baby project and the journey I am about to set out upon...you ALSO didn’t know that I am essentially travelling on my own, with three kids, and am somewhat relying on people’s kindness and a whole lot of good luck to have the project meet the expectations I’ve laid down for it.
You also probably don't realise the lesson you were able to give my kids by simply being a person who just wanted to be kind, for no benefit of your own. You were in a position to be able to help, and you did. Priceless lesson for young children to witness.
These are the stories I love telling, and am going to keep telling, as we meet people on our journey this year.
Thanks George - Canberra is lucky to have you, and my little family and I are better off for having witnessed your kindness ?
Amy and tribe.