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Just like rotary phones, shopping malls and popcorn you heat on the stove, stick shifts (or manual transmissions as the pros call ’em) may soon be a thing of the past. A report in The Atlantic shows that in the year 2000, manual transmissions accounted for 15% of the new and used cars sold by Carmax.
In 2020, that figure dropped to just 2.4%.
The sad thing is that countless people will never experience the pleasure of driving a manual transmission. There’s something to be said about the feeling of actually driving and controlling a vehicle with a stick shift. It’s a sensation you can’t get behind the wheel of an automatic.
Given the manual transmission’s decline in popularity, seeing a teen learning how to drive one warms the heart. That may be why Cleveland County Deputy Kendrae Traylor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, went out of his way to help a stalled teen learn how to drive her manual transmission.
Traylor and his partner, Ryan Graham, came across the stalled car in the middle of the road recently and pulled up to investigate.
“We came across a stranded vehicle, wondered what was going on with it. Made contact with this young female, brand new driver of a standard, didn’t know what she was doing,” Traylor said in a post shared by Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. “I asked her if I could help assist her. So I kinda went through the steps of helping her out.”
Traylor helped the girl pull the car into an empty parking lot where he taught her how to drive her stick shift with confidence.
“Once we were in an empty parking lot, I helped her step-by-step understand how to drive a manual transmission,” he continued.
“You want me to talk you through it? I can do that,” Traylor can be heard saying in his partner’s bodycam. The footage was later shared by the Sheriff’s Department where Traylor got a lot of love for being such a wonderful public servant.
\u201cDeputy Kendrae Traylor with the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office helped a new driver learn how to drive a stick shift after finding her stalled in the middle of the road.\n\nhttps://t.co/poj4EX83Zh\u201d
— KOKH FOX 25 (@KOKH FOX 25)
“I love it. He was so patient and now she will be,” Jennifer Rachel Trum commented on a TikTok post of the footage. “I know Kendrae through some friends, he’s such an amazing guy and an outstanding Deputy,” brianramos0315 added.
“She will never forget your calm and caring lesson! Thank you for protecting and serving!” Stephanie Anne Morros said.
This story was especially touching for me because when I was 18 years old, I got my first car, a 1989 Toyota Tercel that had a manual transmission. My dad gave me an hour-long lesson on how to drive the car and then told me to take it home, alone. It was normally a 20-minute drive, but it took me more than an hour because I kept stalling in the middle of traffic.
The drive home was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I couldn’t get the car going at a traffic light and all the cars behind me were beeping as the light switched from green back to red.
I would have loved to have been helped by a kind deputy like Traylor during my fateful first trip alone in a manual transmission. Good news is, I made it home alive and I love driving a manual transmission so much that my next three cars were all sticks.