Mike and Sandy need your help! The year 2016 was devastating for my best friend, Sandy, and I. It continues into 2017. We are both in our 50’s and are now forced to walk nearly everywhere we need to go since our vehicles have gone to the scrap yard, worn-out and not worth the very high cost of repairing them.
We have been best friends and roommates for 12 years and have always had transportation. We each had our own cars to get us to work, grocery store or anywhere necessary to live our lives and we were doing reasonably well. I had a decent job for 10 years driving a shuttle bus at the Kansas City International Airport. Unfortunately, because of a previous injury, I had to leave the job. Back in 1997 I was involved in an unusual accident, being struck by a heavy piece of scrap metal, a ball of metal actually, weighing about 10 pounds which came off of a scrap metal truck and went through my windshield, striking me in the left shoulder. The piece of metal was propelled going more than 60 miles an hour when it hit me. At the time of the accident my doctor told me I would probably develop severe arthritis as I grew older. He was absolutely correct. I was 33 at the time of the accident. Fast forward to now, this is what led me to having to leave my job at the airport. I could no longer tote luggage weighing 50 pounds or more, a requirement of the job. The pain became excruciating and I had no choice but to find some other type of work. I left my job on January 1, 2016.
On January 10, 2016 my car had a major breakdown. The estimate to fix it was $1800. The car, a 1985 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, had 260,000 miles and needed other work as well. She just wasn’t worth putting $1800 into. So here I was unemployed, living on what little was in my 401K for a few months in order to heal so I could find a new job and no money to buy another car. Without that car I soon discovered that employers won’t hire you in Kansas City. They require you have reliable transportation. We have a bus system, however, it is quite ridiculous only running during the week and from 6AM to 6PM. The bus system is also extremely limiting in access, especially in Johnson County where I live, making many areas unreachable. Taking a bus does not meet an employer’s requirement of reliable transportation.
Sandy’s car, a 2005 Dodge Stratus, had some major problems develop after throwing the timing belt just a couple of years after she bought it. She bought it used from an individual so no warranty for repairs. The mechanics couldn’t figure out the problem which had something to do with the camshaft and camshaft regulator. She could only drive it without going over 3,000 rpm or it would buck. Consequently, no passing gear to take it on the highway. The car finally stopped running in the Spring of 2016 altogether and was parked in the parking lot outside of our apartment. One night some thieves tried to take the car, breaking into a window and destroying the steering column. The only reason they didn’t get the car was because it was already broke down. Because of our financial situation and the fact the car was not running at that time we had dropped the insurance. Nothing left to do but scrap her car as well.
So, you see, we have a big problem. Without a car in Kansas City there is no way of getting a decent full-time job. Currently, Sandy and I both have part-time jobs within walking distance of our home. We are struggling just to pay the rent and feed ourselves. We are not looking to get fancy cars. The amount of $8000 we are requesting would allow us to purchase 2 older reliable vehicles and pay for tags and insurance to get us going. I have always had older vehicles and feel confident in doing minor repairs and maintenance myself. Just something to get us from point A to point B so Sandy and I can find decent full-time jobs. We would be forever grateful for any help you can provide for us to get our lives back!
Thank you for reading our story. Please, help us to be able to stop surviving and start living once more.
Mike and Sandy