BY-WAYS - 4/26/50 - Drama in a Service Station

As Virgil and I drove up the low ramp and along the level to the "Lubritorium," we saw our friend "Maury" in a new role. Maury is chief of staff of the best car hospital in our neighborhood. In fact, he owns the place. This evening, however, he was not concerned with the diagnosis of a sick car - but with a human being. A man was swaying uncertainly; hard-boiled, square-jawed Maury was suddenly not hard-boiled at all, but gentle as a woman. He had his arm around the apparently intoxicated young man. He helped him into a car parked at the edge of the lot, gave him a reassuring pat, and went back to his car patients. I drove the car onto the lift, for the brake-tightening job. As the debonair young mechanics set to work, my woman's curiosity got the best of me - about the young man in the car. I asked Maury about him, realizing at the same time that it was none of my business. But Maury, who looks like the human version of an old clam, had cast aside his shell. "That lad has heart trouble. You might say he has a broken heart. Bob is a good guy," Maury went on to say. "He's worked for me a whole year, and I ought to know. He comes from a little town in North Carolina, and his wife and little boy are still down there. Bob is an expert welder - one of the best. He was recommended to a big steel firm in Indiana. When he got there, the examining doctor found he had a heart murmur, and he was rejected. He went to another firm. Same story. So he came to Cleveland; happened to stop at my garage; told me his story - and asked me if I could use a good welder. I knew the score, told him I'd give him a chance." (This is the so-called 'hard-boiled' Maury speaking). "Boy! I never had such a welder. I told him to watch out for any danger signals. He could have time off when he felt the need of it. But that lad never had no trouble with his heart - 'til a woman made trouble for him. His landlady fell in love with him. He tried to ignore it 'til she began making passes. So he moved. Before he could send his wife his new address, a letter came from her to the old address. This she-devil opened it, read it, then sat down and wrote as only a woman scorned can write. She told the wife that her husband was two-timing her - running around with other women, etc. Now he gets a letter from his wife, saying that she's suing him for a divorce..." Just then the office door opened, and in came Bob, in the throes of a terrible heart attack. I was too scared to look (we were in the adjoining garage) but Virgil said he had a dreadful time getting his breath. Two fellows worked over him, while Maury called the Emergency Squad. Luckily, Maury's place is only two blocks from the police station. Two first aid men were there in a matter of seconds; their speed and efficiency is something beautiful to watch. The leader flicked open the inhalator case and was holding the oxygen mask over the stricken man's nose before you could bat an eye. The patient soon began to breathe normally, but he seemed to hover between the conscious and the unconscious. Maury called a doctor, and in the meantime the little office was swarming with policemen. They all looked as if they felt mighty sorry for the man on the stretcher. They were ready for any emergency. Just as the doctor came, we had to leave. But we call up every day, to see how the patient is coming along. He is still in the hospital - five days later. On the way home from the garage Virgil said, "There's a story for your column." I hope I have a happy sequel next week.

Florence B. Taylor

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