Learn how Al and his team give back both in the bays and well beyond the shop doors.
My daughter had been working at my other shop location when that customer stopped by, a woman who was maybe mid-to-late thirties. Had her kids with her. Her car had a lot of problems. My team was about to be the bearer of bad news.
Her kids were a bit anxious, so my daughter suggested that she go wait at the McDonald’s next door and have a meal. But the woman stayed.
As my daughter worked with the managers of that shop, she sensed that this woman was extremely stressed. So, being the person she is, my daughter started talking with her. She asked her how she was doing, trying to get her to open up.
“I’m having this problem with this car, and on top of everything else right now, it’s just too much,” the customer said.
“I’m really sorry about that,” my daughter replied. “Hopefully, we’ll find a solution. Anything you got going on, anything we can help with?”
“No, not really at this point. Just know that I appreciate you asking. It's just been a rough month for me.”
Then she started getting teary-eyed.
“It’s ok, it’s totally ok,” my daughter comforted her. “I can be a friend to talk to.”
“My husband just died,” the customer said. “He would bring his car here. And now I have the car here for you guys to work on. I’ve got two kids. He died unexpectedly. Everything’s a whirlwind right now. We don’t even have the money to do what we need to do to have a burial for him.”
My daughter realized that the burden of the car repairs on top of everything else this woman needed to take care of was just too much. No one should ever have to deal with all of that.
So she called me and told me what was going on.
“What do you want to do?” I asked.
“Dad,” she cried, “Can we just fix her car for her? We can get her back on the road because she needs to get rolling. She’s got to deal with personal stuff. And then can we get her back to do the other repairs that need to get done? Can we just take care of her?”
So I turned to my team and told them what’s going on, told them what my daughter had asked of us.
“Is everybody in agreement with that?”
“Yeah,” they all chimed.
So I told them to call the vendors and get rock bottom prices on the parts. We’d cover the additional costs for the parts, cover all the labor, and get her back on the road.
It was an important moment for all of us. It made business come down to the human level. Obviously, shops need money to run. But we saw, with our own eyes, that there’s a greater value in our work than just selling parts and labor.