I recently sold my ’96 Jetta after six years of driving bliss. The wife and I recently bought another car, so the Jetta was no longer a necessity.
The last year or so had been kind of rough anyway, considering that it finally reached that point in a car’s lifespan when a million little things suddenly go wrong. The driver’s side door lock broke, which set off the alarm every time I opened up the door. I had to get in and out Duke Boys style for a while, which got old really fast. The emergency brake mechanism also broke, which ruled out any trips into San Francisco. In reality, there were three or four things that could have easily been fixed – but I didn’t want to waste the effort and money fixing them since we were planning on getting a replacement car anyway.

Still, it was in decent shape, and I’d been driving it to work every day up until we got the new car. Once that happened, it was time to turn the Jetta loose to a new owner who would take care of her.

A gentleman at my church heard that I was looking to get rid of it, and told me that his son would probably be interested. He had him drive up from San Jose that weekend, and they came over on Saturday to check it out. I gave him a long printed list of the car’s known problems, which didn’t faze him. I’d been pretty thorough, because I didn’t want to feel like I’d ripped anybody off.

After a test drive and a close inspection of the engine compartment, he and his dad discovered that the water pump was on its way out. Feeling dumb for not noticing it myself before then, I shaved a few hundred bucks off the price. After thinking about it for a couple of days, he eventually went for it.

I signed the title over to him, he gave me the dough, and that was that.
He drove away, and a sentimental twinge of sadness gripped me for a moment as my little golden friend slowly disappeared from sight. It was sad to see it go, but a few minutes later I was glad to have one less vehicle to worry about.

At church several days later, the guy’s dad came up to me as my wife and I walked in the door.

“Hey, Eduardo – remember that car you sold my son last week?”

“Sure… But what do you mean ‘remember’?”

“Well, a funny thing happened on his way home that day.”


“Just a few hours after he left your place, he had it parked on a street somewhere – and a lady plowed into it going 55 miles an hour.”


“Yeah… Nobody’s hurt, but the car’s completely totaled. I guess she was on the phone, or trying to reach down and get something out of her purse while she was driving. That’s what the police report said, anyway.”

And so, the Jetta’s life story unfortunately ends on a tragic note. What was an amazingly dependable and resilient car is now little more than a sad, mangled pile of scrap metal.