So I recently took a trip to Chicago to visit my Mom, Aunt Peggy, and Uncle Jack. It was wonderful visiting with my Aunt Peggy, and catching up with her while sharing a Chicago-style pizza. It was wonderful hanging out with my Uncle Jack and watching the Celtics come from behind 114-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Yet while we were enjoying the game and solving the world's problems over cocktails in the hotel bar, something nefarious happened to my car.

I mentioned it was a very family-centric visit home. I spent Thursday with my Aunt, Friday with my Uncle Jack and my Mom, and Saturday with all three, before heading downtown to my Uncle's hotel for a nightcap.

As usual, I drove to Chicago, and my Kia Soul delivered a great, comfortable ride across Interstates 70, 270, and 55. I've been relatively careful with my ride when going home the last few times. It's an enjoyable car to drive, yet parking in cities has been a bit concerning since it became known that some Kias, including some versions of the Kia Soul, are easy to steal.

Unfortunately, the Soul is a hot car to steal in the area where my mother lives. On the advice of her local police department, we put my Kia in her garage when I visit so no one gets any funny ideas. That's great, but there's no way to stop what happens to your ride when you're away from it.

Sure, I use the steering wheel lock Kia bought for me after it became known the cars are easy to hotwire. I also had the recall work done where Kia updated the theft protection on the vehicle. It even has stickers Kia applied right on the front door windows, to hopefully discourage thieves.

Yet Friday night in the parking garage, while I was enjoying a Negroni and my uncle was enjoying his Manhattan, some mischievous persons attempted to enter my Kia. They popped a small piece of the handle, trying to get in through my front driver's door while messing and hammering the body area around the lock.

Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media
Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media

The good news is that I don't think they gained entry to the vehicle. It didn't look like it. Secondly, if they did, they left disappointed in what I had in my car because nothing was messed with except the damage done to it.

The frustrating part is that I paid $60 to park in this garage for two hours. Yet, the garage was snoozing to keep trouble out of their building. I was also frustrated because I didn't think parking would be $60. I thought it'd be $40 - $45 at most.

For what I paid at that self-park, I should have just gone to the hotel's front entrance and had the valet park it. Honestly, I would have saved $10 using the valet, and I assume my car would have been safer since the hotel's garage was closed except for the valet customers that night.

I gotta tell you, Kia's are fun vehicles to drive. They do a nice job with the interior, and the vehicles drive well. Yet, the company, between its finicky engines that like to consume oil and leaving out key protections against theft, and how they've handled these issues is pretty disappointing.

Yes, Kia fixed the theft problems in my vehicle. But with a reputation that the car is easy to rip off, does it matter? Yes, I'm glad my car didn't get ripped off, only to be found by Chicago Police ten miles out of downtown and completely messed with and wrecked.

Yet, maybe my car wouldn't have been targeted if it didn't have the reputation of being easy to steal. Maybe I wouldn't have the hassle of getting the car into a body shop and repaired. Because I know the next time I drive it to Kansas City, Chicago, or Columbia -- the thought that someone might rip it off again will always be in the back of my mind.

I don't like car payments and tend to drive vehicles till they die, but between engine hassles, the vehicle's easy-to-steal reputation, and about 160,000 miles on the odometer, maybe it's time to look at something different. Perhaps a lovely used Ford Escape or one of the small Maverick pickup trucks. It might be time to do some browsing at Rick Ball Ford.

I wouldn't trade this long weekend and the memories made for anything, including an undamaged Kia. However, next time, I think I might try the Rum Runner at the bar while my uncle and I try to solve the world's problems.

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