Seize opportunities when you recognize the good ones. - IMAGE: Pexels/Anıl Karakaya

Seize opportunities when you recognize the good ones.

IMAGE: Pexels/Anıl Karakaya

I never learned to work a straight drive, as they call it from where I’m from in North Carolina – otherwise known as a stick, or manual, shift.

I even had the motivation at one point. As a teenager, I drove a Nova handed down from my two older sisters but longed for a car of my choosing. I liked the Volkswagen Beetle, or my pet name for it: bug. So when I saw an ad for a freshly refurbished one, I went for a test drive.

My hopes were dashed when I got to the owner’s house, though, and learned that this bug wasn’t an automatic. In my still-developing mind, all cars had automatic transmissions.

The bug sat all shiny and new looking with its cream-colored shell, like an Easter egg that I didn’t have to search for. Its interior was immaculate, and the price was right, even for my minimum-wage income, though I don’t remember the exact amount.

So, at the owner’s encouragement, I took it for a spin as he sat beside me in the front passenger seat. As it turned out, he’d actually configured the car’s transmission as a combination automatic-manual, or manumatic, so all I’d need to do is operate the clutch. I did so uncertainly as we jerked through the streets of Statesville with his help.

Though I badly wanted this classic car, more than I wanted the bright yellow Honda Prelude I’d seen in a magazine, I ultimately decided to pass on it because I feared regretting the purchase when the “new” wore off and I was left to work a little harder to get around town.

Looking back, I wish I’d taken the chance and bought it. How much do we miss in life because we’re afraid of the consequences of risk? I’d hate to calculate my loss.

The thought of it leads me to my point for dealerships: Seize opportunities when you recognize the good ones, like 2024 TIME Dealer of the Year Rita Case did as a teenager herself. Learn her backstory in this issue.

What is your VW bug? Maybe it could jumpstart your career, your business or your whole life.


Hannah Mitchell is executive editor of Auto Dealer Today. A former daily newspaper journalist, her first car was a hand-me-down Chevrolet Nova.

Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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