Good News Story: Online Commenters Gang Up… To Help Fix a Wheelchair Van

Bozi Tatarevic
by Bozi Tatarevic

Our Saturn Vue Hybrid decided to spring another leak recently, resulting in a jammed belt tensioner and a torn CV boot. Each of the repairs started with a laundry list of required specialty tools, making improvisation and irritation a common theme over the past few days.

While last night’s repair session resolved almost all of the Vue’s issues, as midnight approached I realized there was another leaky seal which I had not purchased. I was happy to have made some progress but irritated at being unable to finish the job completely — which meant we would have to juggle cars for another day. I walked into the house, tired and angry, and went online to check out the latest on the r/JustRolledIntoTheShop subreddit while I ate a late-night snack.

JRITS is a good subreddit for reading shop and repair stories that range from funny to infuriating. I saw a few posts and comments from people who were in predicaments similar to mine, but one comment led me to a post that showed me just how insignificant my issues were and that there are still lots of generous people out there.

The post centered on a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy who found himself facing a hardship: he was not able to fix the blown motor in his van. He has a YouTube channel under the user name handheldgamefan89, where he has been reviewing vintage video games for the last seven years. The channel only had 1,300 subscribers. After posting a video asking for some help to get his van’s engine repaired, his appeal for automotive assistance quickly skyrocketed in views once someone shared it on Reddit.

His family had already created a GoFundMe campaign to collect a few thousand dollars to complete the repair, but the Reddit share really helped get the donations flowing. As of this morning they have surpassed the original goal, but the best parts of the post were seeing all of the redditors who offered other forms of assistance or encouraging comments.

Watch even a few minutes of his recent videos and you’ll see how genuinely happy he is knowing that people care. It is enough to bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened person out there. The JRITS community has gone out of their way to help him keep as much of the donations as possible, with many offering parts and labor to get his van going again. One dealership owner, who goes by the name Tritonv8guy, has gone above and beyond by ordering an engine, transporting the van to his shop to repair it, and even finding the family a backup van.

The post showed me that my car issues were minuscule in the grand scope of things, but more importantly it showed me there is still some goodness in this online world of bickering. People are still willing to lend a hand to put a smile on someone’s face.

[Image: Dave Willman/ Bigstock]

Bozi Tatarevic
Bozi Tatarevic

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  • Verbal Here's a little tale about long-term Tesla ownership.In 2017 my buddy bought a three year-old Model S for $68k, which was the going rate at the time. He kept it garaged and treated it with kid gloves. It looked and ran virtually like new. The only problem he ever had with it was some kind of recurring issue with the driver's door handle. He never had to replace the brakes.A couple months ago, at ten years of age, the original battery finally bricked. Tesla quoted him $17k to do a battery replacement. But! If he replaced the battery, they would give him $11k in trade on a new Tesla! You don't have to be a math genius to see that those are crooked numbers.Using aftermarket parts is a non starter. Rebuilt batteries can be sketch. And the cap that goes on the battery is a Tesla-only part.Most people don't have $17k burning a hole in their pocket for a car repair. What are you going to do? Ask your credit union for a $17k loan to put a new battery in your ten year-old car? Good luck with that.A local auto recycler quoted him $1000. The recycler said that if he replaced the battery, the car would have a resale value in the low $20k's. That wouldn't give him enough headroom to make it worth his while. He said there are 150,000 dead Teslas in the national inventory (don't know where he gets this figure). And there's no demand for used Tesla parts, since most Tesla owners seem to treat their cars well. So Teslas with dead batteries have marginal scrap value.So my friend's Tesla, with 80k miles on the clock and in excellent condition, with a dead battery, was scrapped. During his ownership, the car depreciated by around $800 a month.He saved a lot of money by not paying for gas, oil changes, tune ups, and consumables. But in the end, all those saving were erased by huge depreciation.Welcome to long term Tesla ownership, folks.(Cue the wailing and rending of garments from the Tesla fanboyz.)
  • Aja8888 My BIL had one of these years ago. great car!
  • Wjtinfwb Job cuts and EV's... is that a winning strategy? You're locked in to substantial labor expense after the UAW agreement signed a few months ago. And EV's ain't exactly flying off the shelves en masse. Get the new Charger out already, it's been teased more than the Bronco and Supra were combined. Get a real Hybrid option out for the RAM trucks and big Jeeps that consumers will buy. Consider bringing back a Gen 3 Hemi with an aluminum block, direct injection and perhaps a Hybrid option to counter the Toyota debacle and get a jump on GM. Dump the Hornet and build Dodge a version of the Jeep Compass they can actually sell. A Dodge with Alfa bones isn't compelling to either brands fans. Fix the Durango's oil cooler problems to avoid alienating police departments nationwide. Do you want every cop in the US driving an Explorer? Freshen up the Pacifica and get Chrysler a cool sedan or wagon that can create a buzz like the 300 did more than a decade ago. And fix your dealers, they are by a large jackasses. Plenty of opportunity for improvement.
  • 3-On-The-Tree True that’s the worst beat down in history.
  • Jalop1991 Tesla has made getting repairs a real headache for some owners, as the automaker hasn’t allowed them to get work done at third-party shops. That policy has led owners to seek  class-action status against the company,So, move next to the airport then complain about the noise.Got it.
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