son duo come to the rescue of yours truly
and Patrick Kindig are a father and son duo who own and
operate a towing/auto parts/salvage yard/garage in La
Porte, Indiana and thank God for that because without
their help I'd still be on the side of US20 halfway between
South Bend, Indiana and Michigan City, Michigan... or
has been in the auto repair/salvage business for over
30 years and Patrick started taking apart engines and
putting them back together when he was still in diapers.
know this because Pat and I spent a good spell talking
with each other while I was waiting for Patrick to replace
the timing belt on my 1997 Toyota Carolla. Apparently,
you're supposed to replace those things every 120,000
km or so.
hadn't been replaced in at least 140,000, or so we surmised
for a car with 289,000 kms on it. So why was I on the
side of US20 you ask? Valid question. I was on my way
to a Florence and the Machine concert in Tinley Park,
Illinois when I decided to make a side trip to South Bend,
Indiane to visit the campus of the University of Notre
Dame, home of the Fighting Irish.
visiting South Bend, I had to take US20 to get back on
I94. Somewhere along the line my engine started to choke
a bit like it was out of gas and then it finally stalled
around 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday.
goodness I was only a 10 minute walk from the nearest
gas station, the owner of whom had the phone number of
a certain auto repair/salvage yard who was the only auto
repair/salvage owner who was open on Sundays in the tri-state
towing my car to the garage and instantly diagnosing the
problem, he woke Patrick up and told me that he have it
fixed and I'd be on my way in time for the concert. Of
course, that left me asking the question... "How
on earth would he be able to find the parts on a Sunday?"
a problem," says Pat. "I got a guy."
enough, Patrick replaced the timing belt, tension pulley,
and other fan belts in less than five hours and I was
on my way.
some people might think of my situation as a mini-disaster.
Not so. It was a blessing. If I hadn't made the side trip
to South Bend, or broke down where I did, the timing belt
likely would have gave way on Interstate 94 somewhere
between Michigan City and Gary, Indian. I would have had
to call the state troopers, had my car towed at great
expense to a garage, waited overnight to get it fixed
and missed the concert. Instead, I got my car fixed and
I was on my way in five hours. Plus I got to meet a truly
unique individual and his equally unique son.
was born and raised in La Porte and has lived there all
of his 52 years. His office looks like it should be in
an American Pickers episode which it almost was because
Pat is good friends with Mike (he's the skinny one).
is a Trump supporter mainly because he believes the American
political system needs to be blown up before it can ever
be fixed and Trump is just the man to blow it up. He's
seen company after company go out of business, houses
foreclosed and thousands of people in his little area
of the American midwest lose their jobs.
get to the University of Notre Dame, I had to drive through
downtown South Bend. It's not just one or two businesses
that have been boarded up, it's entire blocks. Everyone
of those businesses once generated revenue and taxes,
and employed people with families. Today, they're all
gone. Jobs have disppeared as if one were to blow the
sand off the palm of their hand.
the after effect of the declining economy in the American
midwest, it's easy to undetstand how people can get so
upset over catch phrases like the global economy, and
free trade, and how someone like Donald Trump and his
motto "Make America Great Again". can resonate
with people like Pat Kendig.
24, is a man of few words. He let's his work do his talking
for him. He's also autistic. His father ended up having
to pull him out of school in Grade 5, after the education
system failed to adequately address his needs.
immediately started to teach his aon the ins and outs
of fixing cars. Patrick was a quick learner, Before his
13th birthday, Pat was already a master mechanic and his
father couldn't be more proud of him.
father and son, Hemi Auto and Towing employs two other
characters Jim and Jeremy who help out around the office
and do odd jobs.
used to be a fan of a reality television show called Lizard
Lick Towing until I foudn out it was a total fake. If
there are any reality television producers out there looking
for their next big project, they should consider Hemi
Towing anf Auto Repair and Pat and Patrick Kendig. You
wouldn't need a script. Just a couple of cameras following
them around and telling the story of two honest men putting
in an honest day's work to make an honest buck.
may not be the most entertaining sho, but it would definitetly
be one of the most inspiring.
why I feel so blessed and fortunate to have broken down
on US20 just outside La Porte, Indiana and met a man named
Pat Kendig and his son.
you ever pass through that neck of the woods, feel free
to visit Hemi Auto and Towing and tell the folks there
that Fred from Canada says hi. They might even offer you
a burger and their unsolicited opinion on globalization
and the American body politic.
you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column
please write to Fred Sherwin at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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