29 May 2013

Losses and Lessons: Toddler ‘helps Daddy’ by scratching the paint of his beloved GTO


WHAT WENT WRONG: Parents who’ve been publicly embarrassed by their children’s uncanny ability to repeat a cuss word at the most inopportune time can attest to this undeniable fact: Kids emulate adults. Sometimes that’s incredibly cute; other times it’s incredibly unfortunate. The owner of a 1965 Pontiac GTO spent an afternoon detailing his classic while his 2-year-old played on a tricycle nearby. When Dad began using a power buffer on the passenger side of the car, his son decided to “help Daddy” on the other side by “cleaning” with a wire brush that he’d found on a shelf.

DAMAGE/LOSS: Before Dad realized what his son was up to, the toddler had scratched the paint from front to back on the driver’s side of the car. Cost to fix the damage was $2,500, which Hagerty paid.

LESSON: Even the best of intentions can lead to disaster. Sure, you want your kids to follow in your footsteps when it comes to loving classic cars. But make sure they’re old enough to appreciate their value, both emotionally and monetarily. And teach them how to properly care for them – as soon as they know the difference between a tooth brush, a soft brush and a wire brush.

14 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Carl Bronx, N.Y. May 29, 2013 at 16:46
    It's unfortunate that adults forget that children need to be taught at the beginning right from wrong, to listen and respect their elders and the property around them. All to many times adults find the antics of a child funny and as they grow up the parents continue to laugh, protect and defend the child's action. We must always keep both our eyes and ears on our children. I may sound indifferent or mean but I have seen this all to often before. In fact I recently had to deal with a vandalism problem with my 95 Chevy Impala SS which Hagerty was right on top of and I thank them for that. My 60 yr. old sister and her 30+ yr. old daughter after being escorted out of my mothers house for fighting with a third party during my fathers funeral came back later to key and kick my entire car. They were not brought up this way but they always took the wrong path and blamed the whole world for their position in life today. Now I can look back and remember my parents but especially my mother making excuses for them always saying it's not their fault that they're good kids. Now as adults there is no more excuses from my mother about their actions. To little to late.
  • 2
    Bill Hale Arlington Texas May 29, 2013 at 17:27
    I know the feeling,in 1982 bought a new Kawasaki, was parked in wash room 2 year old son went to work on front fender with tack hammer wasnt pretty. My wife was not happy with new purchase? thought it was cute "he is just like his dad working on things" I had to laugh what can you do my buddies called it Hale damage. My son is 32 now story still comes up.
  • 3
    Phil Island lake, il May 29, 2013 at 19:42
    I went up to Wisconsin to an old and well know Cruise night at a 50s Drive In. A young couple with a couple of kids happened by my Streetrod. The kids were smiling and curious. " Don't Touch!" The Mom and Dad said simultaneously. Well that just struck me the wrong way. Suddenly I was 6 years old and disappointed and embarrassed. I got up walk to the drivers door, opened it and said," they can do anything they want" , " that car is 71 years old, they can't hurt it now". They jump into the drivers seat, laughing and giggling, it was was one of the best times I had with my overly expensive, teenage fantasy. My brother was with me with his car, at the next rod show we attented, guess what he did? That's what it's all about, passing it on. And don't leave your wire brush laying around.
  • 4
    Jim Jarvis United States May 29, 2013 at 21:10
    Reminds me of my grandson "helping" daddy by polishing the car with a rock.... I ALWAYS keep my eyes on kids around my vehicles, these things happen so fast.
  • 5
    Len Boschma Beloit,WI May 29, 2013 at 22:37
    I remember being about 4 years old and seeing a "tire sticker"; like the ones that used to be on the tread of all new tires back then, laying on our garage floor next to my older brothers beloved '63 Impala. Thinking that it must have fallen off his fender, as many guys back then placed advertisement stckers for tires or performance products on their cars windows, hoods, deck lids or fenders- I placed the sticker onto his right front fnder and I have never heard the last of it over the past 47 years now.
  • 6
    Ed Mucha Goode VA May 30, 2013 at 13:12
    I learned to avoid those probs early on while I was spending weekdays (working nights) prepping and tuning my B/MP 1950 Olds Coupe for weekend drags. Built a set on mini wooden ramps, lettered up my 3 y.o.s pedal mustang car (1964 model) w/ "Holman & Moody" on the sides, installed an old tach on the fender, made a key slot, plus gave my son a Snap-on, roll-up tool pouch with a few wrenches inside. He occupied himself nicely, away from my gem. Wish I still had the Holman & Moody lettered car today.
  • 7
    Dave Bertram Scottsdale Az May 30, 2013 at 15:04
    I was working on a piece of stainless when my 4 year old grandson picked up the small hammer and hit the drivers door of my 58 Bonneville convertible. I still have a small chip there 14 years later. Kids will be kids.
  • 8
    Robert Aberdeen MD May 30, 2013 at 09:20
    That brings to mind when my friend was washing his prized 69 Chevelle SS. He used to clean the white lettered tires with a Brillo pad. While washing and rinsing one side, his girlfriend's little brother got hold of the Brillo pad. Same deal...round y round swirls all along one side then across the trunk before his "help" was discovered. Not good for the relationship.
  • 9
    Ross ABQ May 30, 2013 at 10:40
    LOL, my son did a similar thing. I was spot blasting a rusty area on a Willys Utility I owned one Saturday. I went in to eat lunch and while eating I saw my 5-yr-old and his friend taking handfuls of sand and "polishing" my wife's brand new Dodge. I knocked the kitchen table over jumping up to stop them. Thankfully, it buffed out.
  • 10
    Richard Thomsen Santa Rosa, CA. May 31, 2013 at 11:42
    LOL! I thought I was the only one... Brand new Dodge Daytona, Black with Camel leather interior. I'm sooo proud washing it for maybe the 2nd time. My 3 year old son on the other side of the car helping Daddy wash it. However, I didn't notice for some time that he was washing with a ROCK... The whole side of the car looked like a slinky was stretched across it from front to back! 23 years ago, I still remind him...
  • 11
    norman rhode island June 1, 2013 at 15:21
    Nice note from Phil. In the early nineties I had a friend of mine with a 1927 street rod with an "impossible dream" scene painted on the rear deck. When I saw him pick upa challenged kid about 18 years old and put him in behind the wheel while others where keeping kids away I was truly impressed. That same year I built a 23T and when I went to cruises or just to the beach whenever a kid was with his parents and wanted to look at the car or take a picture I didn't let the farther take the picture until the kid was behind the wheel. It still is only a car.
  • 12
    Chuck Cleveland, OH June 3, 2013 at 20:46
    I ran into a gentleman many years ago with a red XKE. It had white cloudy marks down the side. I asked him what happened. He said his little son wanted to help him clean the car. He took a bottle of Westleys Bleach White and sprayed it all down the entire side of the car. The dad discovered it a while later after it had time to bleach the paint all the way through. Quite heart breaking to see the damage.
  • 13
    Mike Watkinsville, Ga June 6, 2013 at 10:55
    I'm in my new 1977 black Silverado with my 3 yr old son standing (yep, no infant seats back then) beside me as we stop to go thru a friend's pasture. I throw 'er in park and jump out to open the gate. Then I hear the click of the trans going into gear (no brake lock out back then either) and barely get out of the way as my beautiful truck comes thru with a 3 yr old 'driver' grinning ear to ear helping dad, taking the driver side trim off. Was I mad? No, my fault. Have I let him forget about it? No, he's 39 and I still tease and remind him of it every chance I get!
  • 14
    Gloria Gow Little Meadows, Pa. June 14, 2013 at 12:40
    Oh my, this takes me back 40 years to when we had a 67 Chevelle...white convertible with blue interior. My husband had been using black tire dressing that was like a tar base product. While he turned his back, our three year old daughter decided to help daddy out by "painting" the car, and much of herself in the process. Luckily, with lots of elbow grease, daughter and car were returnd to their former "beauty".

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