When I was a kid, during one of our family’s many travels, we saw a bum or, vagrant if you prefer, who had caught a ride inside a brand new car being transported by truck—a car hauler. Or, as truck drivers call them, a portable parking lot. A modern-day hobo who’d traded riding the rails for more luxurious accommodations. The guy seemed quite content; dry and comfortable on his journey to wherever he was going. At the time we thought it was odd but later I learned that this happened quite a bit due to the cars being left unlocked during transport— a practice that has since been changed. Apparently, the car companies didn’t like the idea of new cars showing up at the dealership with that lived-in look.
I’ve hauled cars a few times in my illustrious trucking career, and mindful of the possibility, I always made sure to check the vehicles for unwanted passengers anytime I had stopped. Like the car companies, I’m not in to giving out free rides. I never had the “pleasure” of finding any passengers, although I have seen a few from my lofty perch in the cab of my truck.
These days, with the electronic locks and advanced alarms, stowaways on car haulers aren’t much of a problem. Sure, these sophisticated systems can easily be defeated provided you have the right equipment but the typical vagrant seeking a cheap fare doesn’t usually carry an RF transmitter capable of accessing the Remote Keyless Entry. And even if they did, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have the technological knowledge to use it.
Consequently, it’s been several years since I’ve seen anyone bumming a ride in a portable parking lot. That is, until this past week. I was passing a car hauler and glanced over just in time to see the guy—stretched out in the back seat of a Dodge Charger.
And the point of all of this? (I hear my wife asking). Nothing really. Just something to ponder as you make your next vehicle purchase.
Inside Room 913
Bruce A. Borders
Allergic To Life