Hamsters to Fairies

All in a day's work for an AA Patrol this Christmas

7 January 2008

If a funny squeak develops in your car, it's not necessarily a squealing fan belt or sticking brake – sometimes the cause is a little more out of the ordinary. Over the twelve days of Christmas, some of the AA's dedicated patrols attended a few rather more unusual call-outs:


Patrol Stuart Smith, who lives near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, spent five hours on 2 January dismantling the dashboard of a car to rescue a hamster that escaped on the way back from the pet shop – the hamster has since been named 'Houdini Doodle'.

Father Christmas

A Father Christmas on his way to a children's party in Hamble, Southampton, was spared his blushes when local patrol Scott Illman fixed his car's ignition fault.


AA patrols saved Christmas dinner for several families after receiving urgent call-outs to cars with frozen turkeys locked in the boot along with the member's car keys.


A pantomime fairy got to a Boxing Day performance at a theatre in Stafford, Staffordshire, with half an hour to spare after patrol Les Fish fixed a faulty ignition coil on her car in Driffield, east Yorkshire.


A cat in Nutley, East Sussex, had a lucky escape on Christmas Day when it went under the bonnet of a car to escape the winter chill and got trapped by the gearbox. Patrol Tony Philpott had to delicately dismantle parts of the engine to free it.

Sinking car

Cornish patrol Richard Bevan had an eventful morning on Christmas Day: his second call-out was to a sinking car on a beach near Newquay – a couple had parked up to take their dogs for a walk but the sand was wetter than they thought; his next one was up the coast at Bude to rescue a surfer who'd locked his keys in the car and only had his wetsuit, surfboard and a stiff breeze for company.


Patrol Mall Johal was flagged down by a distressed woman in Twickenham, London, on Christmas Day, who thought there was a snake in her car that hissed whenever she sat in the driver's seat – she was later relieved, but embarrassed, when it turned out to be a can of de-icer that had become wedged under the seat without its cap!


Patrol Richard Hughes of Arnesby, Leicestershire, went out to a car with an immobiliser fault on 27 December. The member was so delighted he said he wanted to tip him but had no cash in his wallet, so he disappeared into his house and returned with six goldfish – he was a pet shop owner.

Steve Dewey, the AA's Road Operations director, says: "You never expect to break down, so our 15 million members find themselves in all manner of situations when the worst happens. Thankfully, our patrols possess a good sense of humour, as well as the skill and ingenuity to rescue them from whichever tight spot they find themselves in."


7 January 2008