Tim Tuomey is far more accustomed to rescuing others than to being rescued himself. But when this former Marine-who spends his weekends rock climbing in the Sierras and has volunteered with search-and-rescue teams in Yosemite National Park-got stranded with his wife by the side of Highway 40 in January 2005, he was very glad to be bailed out by AAA.
"Every year, my wife and I drive my restored 1972 Westfalia bus from San Francisco to this annual Volkswagen gathering in Lake Havasu, Arizona. My idea that year was to drive halfway into the desert, sleep by the side of the road, and drive the rest of the way the next day. Twenty miles outside Barstow, California, the ignition coil went out, and we sputtered to the side of the road. There we sat, in the dark, in the cold, with cars blasting by on the highway.
"I phone for help and fifteen minutes later AAA driver Rob Stickley arrived in a flatbed-the right type of rig to tow my bus, which was a good sign. He was very careful about finding the optimal place to attach chains to drag the bus onto the flatbed.
"My wife was having trouble tracking down a replacement ignition coil. So Rob offered to find the part himself. He called the parts store and, after finding they had it, drove us to the store and stuck around until it was clear we were safely up and running. His whole approach was, 'Don't worry, we'll get you to Havasu.' He followed through all the way. His service was flawless.
"The Volkswagen gathering that year was great-and I told our story to everyone. I'll always be a AAA Member. AAA knows that we're individuals, not numbers, and they treat us right."
M-F 7am-9pm, Sat 7am-7pm