Jeff Wallace

Jeff Wallace

When you go out to your driveway in the morning, what do you expect to see?

Your car, of course. And that is precisely what your eyes take in – except in those rare cases when the driveway happens to be empty. And that is what one of my USC Aiken students saw this week when she walked outside – an empty driveway.

At first she thought that perhaps she had left the vehicle downtown or at a friend’s house, but when her head cleared, she realized that she had indeed driven it home the previous day.

We have all read and heard about cars being stolen, but rarely does it happen to us. For this student, the sudden realization that the car was missing proved to be a nightmare of the worst order. The loss of a car whether by theft or accident brings with it all sorts of logistical problems.

There is the need to contact the police to file a report, to get in touch with the insurance company to let them know a claim is coming their way and to reach out to friends/neighbors/coworkers to get a ride to school/work/the insurance company.

First the police. The officer asked if the owner had been keeping up with her payments. I suppose that if someone is behind in paying for a vehicle that repossessions are a possibility. This student, however, had paid off her car. Was she sure that she had left it in the driveway? Well, yes! Could she have left the keys in the car? Holding up her only set of keys answered that question.

Little hope was offered for the car’s recovery.

At some point came the realization that the car was not the only thing missing. This student was in the process of moving and had lots of things inside the vehicle. There were all of her books and notes from her USCA classes (including the most prized of all, “The Associated Press Stylebook,” which is an integral part of my class).

Also missing was a computer which held the assignments she was going to submit for her writing portfolio, an essential part of a USCA student’s academic journey. Unfortunately, the writing was not backed up on a flash drive or anywhere else. (Note to all: Back up what you put on your computer on a flash or hard drive or in the Cloud.)

She also had a box that held her workout clothes. She called them “lulus” which I later learned are Lululemon apparel, a pricey brand of exercise apparel. She had four sets that tagged along inside the car as it drove off. And there was also her makeup.

Being a student with a job and a family is difficult enough. It seems unfair that someone working so hard to complete her education should have to go through this ordeal.

Valentine's Day is next week, and my wife and I will celebrate the 48th anniversary of the day we got engaged. I am thankful everyday for the Valentine I got that year in the person of Mary Lou. Nothing has been sweeter than that.

If you have a special someone in your life, make sure to let them know next Thursday. Better yet, let them know every day.

Being adviser to the staff at Pacer Times, the USCA student newspaper, is an interesting position. I get to spend time with a lot of young, talented, energetic individuals who are making their way through school, creating a news publication and figuring out what they are going to do with their lives.

Each Monday the staff holds a meeting with an ice breaker to kick off the festivities. This week, the editor-in-chief asked everyone in the room to tell something that the others did not know about them. Even though I am by far the oldest in the room, they always incorporate me into the proceedings.

My “something” was that I asked my wife to marry me on Valentine’s Day. That drew a collective “ahhhhhh” from the young women in the room. The guys don’t care much about things like that. I haven’t told them the rest of the story, which is anything but romantic.

There were interesting tidbits from the others. One had been in a movie and some TV ads. One was a champion bowler. My favorite was the one who said she was born in a McDonald’s. Yes, born there. And no, she was not super-sized.

Jeff Wallace is a retired editor of the Aiken Standard.