The Greatest Christmas Story Ever

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By Louis Cahill

Admittedly this story doesn’t have much to do with fly fishing except that it happens in the parking lot at Simms, and it’s awesome.

My buddy Rich Hohne, like a lot of us, did some traveling this Christmas. He spoke at a conference in Arizona just before the holiday and his travel plans brought him home to Bozeman on Christmas Eve. With a total of about five Uber cars in Bozeman, Rich wasn’t confident he’d get one on Christmas Eve so he knew he’d need a plan to get home from the airport.

A coworker was traveling for the holiday so Rich hatched a plan to save them both the airport parking fees. His buddy would fly out on the twenty-third and leave his truck in the lot. Rich would fly in on the twenty-forth, pick up the truck and drive it to the Simms plant, where his truck was parked. When his buddy came home, his girlfriend would pick him up at the airport.

It was a simple plan. Rich’s buddy sent a text telling him where the truck was parked. The keys were in the fuel door, just like running shuttle. Everything went smoothly until Rich landed in Bozeman. He’d boarded that plane in sunny Arizona in flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt. When he touched down in Bozeman it was nine below and snowing.

Rich dashed through the snow like Santa’s reindeer to the truck. It was right where his buddy said. Rich nabbed the keys out of the fuel door and jumped in. After warming the truck up and clearing the snow off of the windshield, he drove to Simms. He dashed inside, found a coat and spent the next few hours warming up in his office.

After a great Christmas the Simms crew returned to work, including Rich and his buddy. Rich was in his office when he got a text from his buddy,

“Where did you park my truck?”

Rich fired back, “Two spots down from mine.”  In a few minutes the phone rang.

“Where did you park the truck?”

“Right by mine dude, two spots down.”

“The Tundra???”

“Yeah.”

“Dude…I drive a Dodge.”

Rich had stolen a truck from the airport on Christmas Eve!

For a brief time they considered the only clear option that any innocent person would think of.

“We’ll take it back to the airport and park it in the same spot! Maybe they’re not even back yet. They’ll never know.”

He ran down to the parking lot. They opened the truck and looked inside. The only thing that could make this worse. In the back seat, Christmas presents. The airport plan wasn’t going to fly. They rifled through the glove box and found a registration to a local architecture firm. Rich made the call.

“Hi, my name’s Rich Hohne, I flew in to the airport the other night…”

“Do you have the truck?!” the woman on the other end shouted.

Rich tucked his tail between his legs and returned the truck. I love that this could only have happened in Montana, where everyone drives a pickup and leaves their keys in the fuel door. The icing on the cake is that Rich is the greatest guy you’ll ever meet. Generous to a fault. Spends most of his free time raising money for inner city kids. He’s the last guy in the world to roll into the airport and boost your truck, like a gangsta with you kids’ Christmas presents in the back seat. Priceless!

And that’s how the nicest guy I know left it all behind and took on the thug life, just for Christmas.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
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6 thoughts on “The Greatest Christmas Story Ever

  1. Buy a Ford! The keypad on the door solves this problem. You can even program the five digit number you want and text it to whoever is picking up the truck. Keys inside and not in the fuel door. Great for shuttles. Perfect for fly fishermen.

  2. Great story. Not quite the same, but I once left my pickup at Stillwater Anglers in Columbus, MT while I travelled back to Wisconsin for a week. Could not find my keys during the return trip and figured I may have locked them in the truck. When I got to the flyshop I found my keys hanging out of the drivers side door. I don’t think anyone touched it. Gotta love Montana.

  3. Did the same think in Lander — stopped for fuel for the plane for the return to Ft. Collins. Spotted the “airport vehicle” (they used to be at all of the smaller airports) and headed into get a hamburger before flying home. The waitress said “So .. .. why are you driving the Sheriff’s car?” . . .

  4. That’s great! my wife stole one by accident years back at the Jackson Hole airport. After a week of having it parked at her friends place, her friend asked her who’s car that was. She called the sheriff and turned herself (and the car in). No problems in the end, but the owner of the “stolen” car was pretty disappointed when they learned they wouldn’t be receiving insurance money.

  5. I had something similar happen a little over a year ago. Shuttle guy got confused and moved my truck. My shuttle guy calls when he arrived 30 minutes later to move the truck. He calls. “You’re truck ain’t here”. Spent a frantic 30 minutes deciding what to do about my truck getting stolen. My guy drove by the takeout, saw my truck. Not a good feeling but worked out in the end. Honest mistakes happen…

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