From Louise Steyn
Friday, 3 September 2004:
Finally! The Boxer is ready - MARTIN-ready!
The vehicle has been home for approximately a month now, but certain important jobs still had to be completed.
On Tuesday, 20 July 2004, we drove the van from Auto Bumper (where it had been since 29 March 2004) to Bustruck in Boksburg.
On Friday, 13 August 2004 [lucky day for us :-) ] Bustruck delivered the Boxer to our home! It looked stunning, and smelled like a brand-new vehicle! The upholstery is done in a charcoal durable carpeting, and the seats are covered in a snazzy light grey with neon orange flecks! They upholstered the driver's seat at no extra charge. They also installed two ceiling lights which were not included in the original quotation. They went out of their way to give us value for our money!
They even put in a little ramp between the cab and the back, as there was a 6" difference in the floor height. This, however, posed a problem when Martin endeavoured to drive his chair into the passenger side. The chair tilted at an awkward angle.
Martin's friend, Pieter, phoned a few panel-beating businesses and spoke to Banfield Auto Body in Industria. They asked to see the vehicle. When I drove the Boxer to their premises, the owner, Hennie Miller, enquired about Martin's accident. He agreed to drop the fuel tank and then the floor, to make it level, AT NO CHARGE! A few days later they phoned and requested that we fetch the vehicle. The job was done well. However, the carpeting, which Bustruck had put in so neatly, had to be lifted in order to do the job and now needed to be replaced! I approached an upholsterer in Roodepoort, who agreed to fit the carpet, if I could manage to find a matching carpet at a carpet shop. He directed me to a friend of his, who, just that morning, had pulled up the identical carpet off a floor in a house!! I was welcome to take as much as I needed, AT NO CHARGE! The upholsterer charged me R600.00 to fit it and tidy up. He did not put back the beading though and Martin talked my maid through the whole procedure of drilling out the pop rivets and replacing and securing the beading with new pop rivets! Then they proceeded to fix the lock of the back door that would not open.
The fuel tank was not yet connected however, as the piping required was very expensive (R118.00 for ˝ m). Because the fuel tank had been dropped, the fuel tank inlet and the inlet from outside did not line up. My brother-in-law, Nico, struggled for the best part of 4 hours, but eventually succeeded in connecting the fuel tank.
Neil Wallis (from Pretoria), who attends church in Johannesburg, paid us a visit during the week and installed the floor brackets to secure the wheelchair in the van. This done, we were one day away from going to church on Sabbath! On Thursday and Friday, 2 and 3 September, my maid, Dinky and I tackled the van and started scrubbing every inch inside the van that was not carpeted. I scrubbed the dashboard with a toothbrush! Then polished, vacuumed, and....it looked sooooo good! We finished washing the outside of the van at 4.30pm.
Martin wanted to have his first ride right there and then, in die middle of peak hour traffic, 1˝ hours before Sabbath! I could not deny him that and off we went into the sunset! We headed for my sister, Joyce's home in Roodepoort, but about 4 blocks from there, everything just "died" on the dashboard, no indicators, no brakes - nothing! Martin thought a fuse had blown and we drove to Joyce's house, where she asked her neighbour, Willie, 2 houses down, to help us. Smoke came out through the dashboard and Martin told me to switch off and disconnect the battery! Willie admitted that he was not an expert on auto-wiring and we phoned the AA, of which Joyce is a member. Neighbour and AA tried their utmost to find the fault and eventually, at about 9.10 pm got the problem sorted out. We were freezing and hungry by then! Had we not gone for a drive on Friday, we would have been stuck out on the highway on our way to church on Sabbath, so it all worked out for the best!
Sabbath services: We arrived almost 30 minutes late, as we drove straight into a traffic jam! When we arrived at church, Neil Wallis, Mr Jahns and Mark Naudé came out to help. Neil stood by as Martin drove himself down the ramp. It was wonderful to see! My highlight of the day was watching the expressions on the members' faces when I walked in, without Martin, and then -- here comes Martin driving HIMSELF in after me! It was such fun!
Martin can now see out through the windows, ALL of them, as far as his eyes will allow him! He can now see the sun set and the sun rise, he can see the road signs, the night lights, the stars – none of which he could see in his previous vehicle! ...... No one will ever really fully comprehend what a difference this vehicle has made in his life! The pure pleasure of watching him drive himself in and out of the van, and once out -- off he goes in his chin-operated 4 x 4! This year’s trip to the Feast will be the first in which he will see more than just the white lines in the road and the car immediately in front of him!
Thank you again, so much! Thank you for your generous gift and your fervent prayers!
We have placed the photos on the Internet, which will make it faster to retrieve, at the following address: