car sold as a prank

My daughter had such an unusual experience last week, that I asked her to relate it to you.
I’m going to get you back for that,” Haley murmured.
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll believe it when I see it,” I glibly responded. Besides, it was a mistake. I didn’t purposefully put gum in her hair. Not really, anyway.
Five months later, my husband and I returned from an out-of-town wedding to see 15 messages on our answering machine. Fearing the worst, with trepidation, I pushed the “play” button.
The first message blared, “I’m jus’ callin’ ‘bout yur car ad in tha’ papuh.” Through dropped and slurred vowels and consonants, we realized somehow our number had been printed in the classifieds by mistake.
A couple of messages later a man said, “Yeah, this is Larry. I’m calling in response to your ad in the paper for your Honda.”
My husband and I were amazed. After all, what were the odds that some random, misprinted ad would list our brand of car?
The very next message, a woman requested, “If your silver Honda CRV isn’t sold yet, call me back”
Wide-eyed, Jacob and I stared at the magical machine. We wondered who in the world would have known that two days before we had toyed with the idea of selling our car? We had barely mentioned it in our prayers, “God, if you want us to get a new car, open the doors wide to make it clear.”
The last message played, “Sharon, this is Bev Smith, I’m just calling about your silver 2000 Honda CRV…”
“WHOA!” is about as much as Jacob and I could articulate. This “Bev” knew my name and exact car description, and she wanted to buy it! It was a sign from God, surely. But who did God use to put that ad in the paper? My mother who works at a newspaper office? A friend from church?
To distract myself from the strange turn of events, I decided to return some personal calls. First, I called a high school student whom I mentor.
“Haley, you are never going to guess what happened!” I exclaimed before recounting the messages we had just heard.
“Fifteen messages huh? Hmm,” she said slyly.
Then it clicked. She had ‘gotten me back’ as she had promised months before. I could hear her cackling on the other end of the line. Jacob pored over the classifieds, and found Haley’s prank ad, “Honda 2000 CRV, silver, excellent condition, $3,000. Desperate for cash! Ask for Sharon.” My home phone number glared at me in plain newsprint.
Now, if you know anything about cars, you know that $3,000 for a six-year-old Honda in excellent condition, even one with 100,000 miles, is under-priced. So it is no wonder that we received over 50 calls in a span of three days in response to ‘our’ ad.
We called dozens of people back, retold the story of the prank ad each time, and always followed up with the real price of the car. Carefully we added, “If you’re still interested, I’ll tell you more about the car.” Thankfully, several people were indeed interested.
The joke is on Haley – three days after the first call about the classified, we took our car and paperwork to its new owner. When I informed Haley of the unexpected twist to her practical joke she innocnetly asked, “So, since you only sold your car because of my ad, do I get part of your earnings?”
Yeah right. I’ll give her something – a personal ad. I think I know a ‘SWF looking for a good time.’
(Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times. She can be reached at