It’s Friday night and I have big plans for the weekend. I have 2 new front seats to install in the bus and I’m borrowing Big Hondo’s timing gun to set the timing and get her running tip top shape for Sunday’s big event at Olsen’s VW in Tampa. My buddy Chisholm and I are taking our 10 year old sons to the VW swap meet n greet. It’s going to be a great weekend.


As I left my office, I drove the bus out of the parking lot and locked the gate behind me. I left it running, in neutral with the brake on. As I locked the gate it was sputtering, about to stall. I jumped in the bus and gave it the gas, but it stalled. I tried to restart it and within 3 or 4 seconds I saw some white smoke blow past the passenger window. My bus never blows smoke, so immediately I turned of the key and jumped out. Smoke was coming out of the vents at the engine. There was a fire in the engine compartment! I opened the side door and yanked the 2 new seats out of the bus franticly searching for my extinguisher as the smoke billowed. I didn’t find it. I opened the gate and sprinted back into the office and grabbed two extinguishers from there and with the help of Tim, a passing off duty fireman, we did our best to extinguish the fire, but unfortunately, we watched it burn to the ground in total disbelief. Cars drove by as Tim directed traffic and his wife Jennifer consoled me. She said they always smile when they drive by and see the bus. A few more people gathered on the sidewalk across the street and they all were very sad as they patted me on the back and told me how sorry they were.


Tim tried to salvage one of the seats laying a few feet from the bus, but they were both smoldering from the intense heat.


At one point, one of the headlights mysteriously lit up. It looked like the Terminator moments before he shut down. The light went off and seconds later we all shrieked in horror as the brake line snapped and the burning bus rolled down hill toward the building! Was it going to hit the building too? Thank God the wheels were turned so it rolled into the middle of the parking lot and continued to burn.


When Engine Numer 11 arrived, the only thing left to do was to put out the fire. The team leader was very kind and he approached me with his head held down and expressed great sorrow for my loss. I thanked him for his kindness. He spoke to me like I had lost a life.


The 2 artifacts that I recovered were my DORSEY plate from the spare tire holder and the Hula Girl torso. Wow, she was made of ceramic!


I’ve never had something for so long, so I don’t remember not having it in my every day life. I was driving it when I met Katy, took her out on our first date, put our babies in the car seat, watched them play in it, do homework in it and even talked about when they are old enough to drive it. It’s very hard to let it go, but it’s easy to remember all of the great memories that will forever be connected to my beautiful green machine.