What would you do if your old truck adorned with your business name and phone number became part of a viral photo? Assumed to be a “terrorist sympathizer” by many viewing the photo, this Texan plumber sued the dealership.

The Washington Post reported:

Underneath this large lettering was an equally clear label of the company’s phone number — a number that, after the photo went viral within days of posting, began ringing nonstop.

On the other end of these mostly caustic calls was Mark Oberholtzer, owner of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, whose reputation rapidly went from small-business owner to terrorist sympathizer. He wasn’t the latter, of course, but the widely shared picture of his old truck spoke louder than his plaintive explanations.

“How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know,” Oberholtzer told the Galveston County Daily News at the time. “I just want it to go away, to tell you the truth.”

According to the complaint filed, Oberholtzer began removing the decal from his truck when the salesman at the dealership warned doing so might damage the finish. The salesman said the dealership would take care of removing the decal.

The black Ford F-250 started life as a truck for a Texas-based plumbing company, carrying toilets, pipes and other supplies. But then it was sold to a Ford dealership in Houston, and after that, shepherded off to parts unknown. Until, that is, it appeared as the focal point of a tweet from a supposed extremist last December.

The photo indicated that the truck no longer carried ceramic parts; emerging from its cargo bed were a black-cloaked figure and an antiaircraft gun. According to the tweet, the truck was being used by Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (the “Muhajireen Brigade”), an extremist group fighting the Syrian government.

Yet even with its function entirely transformed, the truck still bore the insignia of its past life, a decal that clearly read: “Mark-1 Plumbing.”

Underneath this large lettering was an equally clear label of the company’s phone number — a number that, after the photo went viral within days of posting, began ringing nonstop.

On the other end of these mostly caustic calls was Mark Oberholtzer, owner of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, whose reputation rapidly went from small-business owner to terrorist sympathizer. He wasn’t the latter, of course, but the widely shared picture of his old truck spoke louder than his plaintive explanations.

“How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know,” Oberholtzer told the Galveston County Daily News at the time. “I just want it to go away, to tell you the truth.”

[Plumber gets threats after old truck, complete with logo, shows up with Syria jihadists]

Now Oberholtzer has filed a lawsuit against AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway, the Houston dealership where he traded in the truck. According to the complaint filed last week, AutoNation misrepresented its intentions to remove the decal, causing Oberholtzer, his business and his family “severe harm.”

AutoNation did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment Sunday evening. According to Courthouse News, the dealership’s sales manager did not respond to a phone message placed last week.

A spokesman for the company told the Huffington Post last December that “AutoNation was nothing but the pass-through for this vehicle” and had no involvement in its eventual arrival in the hands of Islamist militants.

The lawsuit claims that Oberholtzer started to peel the “Mark-1 Plumbing” decal off when a salesman told him that doing so would blemish the paint on the vehicle. The salesman, Edgar Velasquez, allegedly assured Oberholtzer that the dealership would remove the decal.

The complaint says that neither Velasquez nor any other employee told Oberholtzer that the decals would remain on the truck.

The tweet ended up on Colbert, Oberholtzer’s phone was ringing off the hook, and all because the poor guy traded in a truck.

As the Washington Post points out, thought Oberholtzer’s misfortune is just that, the bigger question here is how the hell the truck wound up in Syria.

An AutoNation spokesman told the Huffington Post that after Oberholtzer’s trade-in in October 2013, the vehicle was immediately sent to an auction house, which then sold it to a local used-car dealer. According to the lawsuit, a vehicle history report says the truck was imported at Mersin, Turkey, on Dec. 18, 2013.

The damaging tweet was sent out almost exactly a year later.

Oberholtzer’s Ford isn’t the only car that has been repurposed for use by extremists. The Islamic State is known for featuring Toyota trucks and SUVs in its graphic propaganda videos, prompting the U.S. government to ask the Japanese automaker why so many of its products have landed in the militant group’s clutches.

“How could these brand-new trucks … these four-wheel drives, hundreds of them — where are they coming from?” asked Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily in an interview with ABC News.

Toyota distributors in the region told ABC that they did not know how their vehicles reached the Islamic State.

There’s another lesson here — save yourself the hassle and drive Chevrolets. I kid. Sort of.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye