The Adventures of Rob and Dorrit (the Toyota Echo): Darla, the Big Gun

NOTE: This blog entry is a direct continuation from last month's 'Dead Stop Dorrit'

When I think of the term 'big gun' the image of the USS DEFIANT (NX-74205) comes to mind. As any geek worth his or her salt knows, the Defiant is a starship featured on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from the third season onwards and it is the Federations first dedicated warship. It is small with a crew of fifty, a massively over-powered warp engine and shield grid with a pair of pulse phasers strapped to either side of the hull. My cousin Dean and I as teenage boys nearly lost our minds the first time we saw it fire those weapons in anger. (See the image below). In short, you mess with this ship, at best you get hurt, at worst, you die. When I referred to my friend Darla as a big gun, I do envisage her as being Defiant-like in the sense that she works in car insurance and is VERY good at what she does. So good in fact, that I felt slightly bad for poor Ethan as he was going to be her first target!

Like most of my social circle I met Darla a few years back on the Landmark Team Management and Leadership Program. We spent two years going through the training together and because she lives outside of British Columbia she had the good fortune to stay on my couch whenever she needed a place to crash. We bonded over long chats and cups of tea and I have told her that there must be some Irish blood in her as we share a similar (dirty) sense of humour. Even after the training finished, we have kept in touch having a weekly call together. When she heard about Dorrit’s woes she asked me why I had not reached out to her. Part of me didn’t think to ask her as she lives in another province and another part of me thought it would be easier to stay quiet and smile. As I discovered in last month's blog, it wasn’t. It was eating me up and so I told her the whole story. She listened patiently to the convoluted events and said finally that the car should have been assessed regardless of what Ethan said. She asked for his number and told me that I had to have her assigned to my claim so she could deal with it directly. The wheels were in motion.

Dorrit, for her part, was repaired and the unpainted bonnet looked ok. In direct sunlight, you could see it was unpainted but the car was road legal again. I went for a short drive and noticed a stone chip in the windshield. After less than a week of being repaired, I couldn’t believe it. Was this car cursed? From my own insurance research, I knew that stone chips were covered on my policy as long as they could be sealed. Without telling Darla I jumped into action, afraid that the stone chip would become a crack that would definitely mean getting a new windshield and ANOTHER insurance claim. I booked the appointment to have the chip sealed first thing that Saturday morning and after dealing with Ethan, I was going into this situation with my own phasers and shields fully powered up. I was not going to be taken for a fool again. The guy at the shop looked at the chip and said it probably wouldn’t seal. I insisted he at least try. I was standing around for about fifty minutes before Dorrit appeared again with the stone chip sealed. There was a mark but one I could live with. The paperwork was processed and I drove home feeling very proud of myself.

Darla did talk to Ethan and she described it as a battle. He was apparently trying to tell her how to do her job! This was all done over the phone and I wondered how it would have been had they met face-to-face! I felt better hearing that though as it wasn’t necessarily just a case of me being naïve and foolish. Ethan could play me as an inexperienced punter, but not Darla. As Ethan never processed Dorrit’s assessment there was very little paperwork to deal with. Darla told me to upload all the photos and receipts I had to the online claims website. She was going to talk to ICBC on my behalf and felt confident that I would get some money back. A week passed and I got an email from an insurance representative stating that ICBC would reimburse me. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t pay to paint the bonnet as that would mean dismantling the whole front end again and they only pay for such repairs once. Darla and myself mused at the idea of going after Ethan to paint the bonnet but it would be rather more difficult. Ultimately, I was no longer out of pocket and could live with the end result.

Money aside, I had taken action and asked for help. In the grand scheme of things that was a more important result. Even after everything, I still notice that I am hesitant to ask for help so I am a work in progress. The biggest win for me was being able to phone my father and sister and tell them that my neighbour paid. That was worth more than anything else. I could stand tall and not feel like I had been weak or stupid in the eyes of my family.

Naturally, I thanked Darla and sent her flowers for all she had done. She claims it was nothing but having someone on my side who is knowledgeable in this area saved me so much time, money and stress. In this story, she really was my 'big gun' and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Darla, Thank you.

Next Month: Midnight Pizza and the MRI.

USS Defiant Image sourced from Memory Beta (non-canon Star Trek Wiki):