By Jessica Tanner
Finals week as a nursing student is already tough, but for Keeley Austin – a fifth-semester student in the nursing program – coming home to find her Subaru Outback missing was a new level of stress. Austin not only had final exams, but also worked doing hospice visits that required her to drive to her patients. She and her husband searched other possible parking spots for the car, hoping they had just parked it somewhere else. But Austin felt sure of where she had last parked it, always being careful when it comes to the car. “I check for my car to make sure it’s there every day,” she explains.
After having no luck with the search, they contacted the local police who registered the missing car. Meanwhile, Austin and her husband kept up the search. They even spotted a similar car being sold on KSL. Austin was eager to check it out. However, that vehicle turned out not to be theirs.
Though Austin posted about the event to warn others in the Provo area, the outreach that she received from friends and peers was reassuring. “Everyone was super supportive,” she says. “Everyone reached out, saying if you need rides we’re here for you, which was awesome.” Thanks to the help, they were able to get through the next few car-less days.
It was actually on a grocery run with a friend giving her a ride that Austin spotted her car at last. “My heart was just so happy and scared,” she remembers. From the clicking noises and heat emitting from the car, she could tell the driver had just left it. That made Austin feel violated. Peeking inside, she could see their things were missing. But any loss was overcome by the relief that they had finally found it. They contacted the police and watched the car until the police arrived.
“It’s a bummer that it happened to me, but it worked out in the end,” Austin reflects, relating how she grew from the experience. She learned that car-theft in the area is frequent because most college cars are older and easier to break into. She also learned how to prevent future theft, such as with the steering wheel lock they now own. Most are not aware of these useful gadgets. When Austin bought one, the employee at AutoZone said it was the first he had sold. “It’s a good reassurance,” says Austin. “Maybe someone can break into my car and steal my stuff, but they can’t take my car!”
The experience gave Austin a fresh perspective, moving forward with a confidence in her ability to get through challenges. Not only did they have their car stolen, but their house also flooded soon after. As she faces another stressful semester, and an upcoming study abroad to Fiji, she says, “Now I feel like nothing can affect me. What are material possessions anyway? God gives it to us; it was His in the first place, He can have it back.”
Above all, the outreach they received was priceless. “I just felt love,” Austin remembers. “It made it easier to cope.” When stressed about an appointment with a patient or getting groceries, she could remember, “I don’t have a car, but I have all these friends that are willing to help out. We can get through this situation just fine.”