Sorry About Locking Your Keys in the Trunk

by Chris Hagerbaumer

Goodbye, trusty old Toyota Tercel. Built in 1991, purchased by me in 1996, you served me well for 18 years. I had made it to my thirties without owning a car, but—ironically—when I landed my job as a transportation reform advocate for Oregon Environmental Council, I needed you to ferry me back and forth between Salem and the office and all across the state, at least till OEC got a company car a few years later.

Sorry about locking the keys in your trunk on a Forest Service road. We may have had to bond with Sasquatch had we not figured out how to jimmy the back seat enough to reach into the trunk. Sorry about leaving the lights on more than once, but you sure started up easily with a good push. And I’m sorry that I was always more attached to my bicycle than to you, but the reason you lived so long is that I only drove you about 4,000 miles a year.

Now, through the vehicle donation program run by Volunteers of America, I was able to make a charitable contribution to the very organization that brought you into my life in the first place – OEC! Volunteers of America takes a small cut of your sale to run the program, and OEC gets the rest. I get to deduct your fair market value on my taxes. Admittedly, you aren’t worth much anymore given that you now need so many repairs (thus my ditching you, sorry!), but you served me well during our many years together, never breaking down and always getting great gas mileage.

Rest assured that I won’t replace you. The added bonus of making a charitable contribution through VOA is a $75 voucher for current Zipcar members ($135 had I not already been a member). I expect I’ll bicycle even more, and I can always borrow my husband’s car if need be.

Sayonara, little Toyota, and thanks again.

To donate your vehicle, go to:


1 Reply to "Sorry About Locking Your Keys in the Trunk"

  • Pete Auseklis
    October 15, 2014 (6:46 pm)

    Chris sets an example that many Oregonians should follow. I admire that.