Our global, interconnected economy is an amazing thing. Of course, it doesn’t seem so amazing right now to the person answering the phones at Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, Texas. The business has had to remove the batteries from its cordless phones to stop the phones from “ringing off the hook” after a truck with its name emblazoned on the door ended up in the hands of an Islamic militant group in Syria.
Normally, just selling your old truck doesn’t lead to an international furor. The plumbing company just traded its old truck in at a local dealership last fall, and didn’t expect to hear about it again. (Update: a local newspaper reports that the trade-in happened three years ago, a timeline that would give the truck more time to make its way to Syria.) That’s how trading your truck in works. Only what they failed to do was remove the business name and phone number from the door.
The company’s owner assures the public that they are not sponsors of any militant groups in other countries, but that hasn’t stopped angry members of the public from calling them and even making threats. “We have a secretary here, she’s scared to death. We all have families. We don’t want no problems,” the company’s owner told TV station KHOU. They are no longer answering the phone.
The dealership sold the Ford F-250 at auction, and from there it disappeared into the used car market. Until it reappeared in a photo posted to Twitter by a group of Islamic militants fighting in Syria’s civil war, with an anti-aircraft weapon mounted on the back. Unfortunately, the name and phone number of the plumbing company in Texas were still on the side.
That’s one useful piece of consumer advice from this story: when you trade in or sell a vehicle, don’t simply assume that the buyer will remove decals or emblems. Apparently, you can never predict where your old truck might end up.
Texas City truck seen on Islamic military group’s Twitter feed [KHOU] (Warning: auto-play video)