So, there we were, on Memorial Day weekend, on the second floor of the broiling-hot Downtown YMCA parking garage sitting in a cherry-red Caddy SRX with vanity plates, and the stupid thing wouldn’t start.

Press brake. Push button. Nothing.

Except for the “Your battery is low, start your engine again” message flashing from the dashboard.

Press brake again. Push button again. Nothing – again.

Except this time the “Theft-deterrent system activated” message flashed from the dashboard.

Hey, we own this Caddy. Well, it’s half paid for. But we own it. We’re not trying to steal it.

Caddy wouldn’t listen. It shut down. I mean, it sealed itself tighter than a hermetically sealed container.

And there we sat. On Memorial Day weekend. On the second floor of the broiling-hot Downtown YMCA parking garage. In a cherry-red Caddy SRX with vanity plates. Forty miles or more from Mills Branch Village.

A couple columns ago, I expounded on how unhandy I was and reminisced about Uncle Pat, the handyman, who could fix anything, including an aged, mid-‘50s Ford Ranch Wagon.

I don’t think Uncle Pat could fix our cherry-red Caddy SRX. The last time it got testy, we took it to the Goodyear car hospital in Kingwood. They hooked it up to an impressive-looking supercomputer – just like a patient in a hospital.

“If you want to work on cars today,” Kingwood Goodyear owner Eddy said, “you need to know your computer.”

We were 40 miles from Kingwood – it was Memorial Day weekend – and we were on the second floor of the Downtown Y parking garage.

I went back into the “Y” looking for a savior. That’s when I found Gus.

He’s one of the floor workers we see a couple times a week. Generally, we talk about working-out type things and his kids, but we remembered that Gus is studying to be an HVAC technician. That’s a “heating, ventilation and air conditioning” specialist and, if he’s handy with that kind of technology, maybe – just maybe – he can figure out a temperamental cherry-red Caddy SRX with vanity plates that has locked itself up.

I was looking through the owner’s manual. Gus was already scrolling through YouTube videos on his phone.

“Oh, I see the problem,” he declared. “We need to reboot it.”

The “we” was all Gus. He popped the trunk of his BMW (I made note of what he was driving) and out came an array of tools to make any respectable technician proud.

Without going into details, he lifted the battery (that was a challenge), rebooted the whatever. We pressed the brake, pushed the button – and our cherry-red Caddy SRX with vanity plates unlocked itself and began to purr.

We drove outta the Downtown Y and back to Lake Houston as legally fast as we could.

Three days later, after the Memorial Day weekend, clever Eddy, the Kingwood Goodyear owner, confirmed it was a dead battery. Dead. Dead. Dead.

If we can WiFi the world, don’t you think a battery could be invented that announced, “Hey, I’m pooping out. Get a new one?”

Kudos to Gus, YMCA floor guy, HVAC grad and savior extraordinaire who spared us of dying from the heat and humiliation in our cherry-red Caddy SRX with the vanity plates in the broiling-hot Downtown YMCA’s second-floor garage.

How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend? Email Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.