When the temperature drops well below zero, Phil Dykstra is one of the most wanted men in Alberta. Meet an AMA roadside assistance service vehicle operator
WW What are the most common calls you get during the winter months?
PD: Boosts and frozen cars. A lot of times people don’t realize their block heaters aren’t working properly, and they go to start their vehicle and find it’s frozen. And you’d be surprised how many people warm up their cars and lock themselves out.
PD: Have your block heater checked before the cold weather sets in. You can also buy a block heater tester at any automotive store or AMA centre, which will tell you two things: if your outlet is good and if your block heater is working.
WW What is the most interesting call you’ve had?
PD: Definitely the most hair-raising call I received one winter was to tow a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur to a garage. I’d only been working at AMA for a year, so I was still pretty nervous. I hooked it up carefully and double-checked everything; I was getting ready to tow it when the member jumped into a second antique vehicle and told me to follow him. Well, he just floored it. When we finally got to the garage, I had to peel my fingers off the steering wheel. I was so scared. But I managed to get there with the car, and myself, safely and without incident.
WWWhat is the best part of your job?
PD: Working with the Battery Express program is really satisfying, because I do a lot of problem solving and get to meet different kinds of people.
WW And the worst part?
PD: Working in the rain. You can always brush the snow off and dress for the weather. But when it’s raining and you’re standing still and you are wet and cold, that’s the worst.