Pay it forward
An unusual thing happened to me yesterday.
As I may have mentioned, some time ago I got myself a new[ish] car. It’s what they call an MCV, in line with the latest practice of ascribing posh sounding acronyms to car types. MCV, SUV, 4WD, you get the drift? Anyway MCV apparently stands for Maximum Capacity Vehicle or something. Essentially it means there is a lot of room inside. This in turn means that the car is a little bigger than my normal experiences with vehicles.
I first noticed the problem when I got the car home. Normally I shoot past my gate, slam her into reverse and shoot backwards into my garden. No problems.But this didn’t work with the new car. Nine times out of ten I now have to shunt forwards and backwards before getting the car to park where I want it. In other words, I just can’t reverse the damned thing.
The problem is even worse when parking on the street. I have no idea where the back of the car is. Yes, I know it’s at the other end from the front, but what I mean is that I have no idea where the back is in relation to whatever is behind it.
The solution was obvious – get a reversing camera.
So I got a reversing camera and everything was fine. My rear-view mirror becomes a little screen and I can see exactly what’s behind me as if I were sitting on the rear bumper. I could reverse up and stop within an inch or the car behind, thereby giving him no room to manoeuvre out [that was just a happy by-product].
But then my camera failed. One day I went into reverse and the mirror just remained a mirror reflecting the car that might have been six feet or six inches behind me. Bugger. I phoned the bloke who put the kit in in the first place. He came out to take a look. He insists on doing all his work here which is great – it saves me a journey. Anyhows he said the camera was bollixed or some such technical term. He said he’d have to get a new one.
The days turned into weeks but I’m patient. I carried on either bumping cars behind me or parking six feet away from them [depending on my mood].
He phoned me on Monday. He said he’d be out the following morning to fix the system. He added as a parting gesture that the camera was out of warranty. Bugger! Though I guessed it was and was quietly hoping he’d forget when he had installed it.
He turned up yesterday morning. I gave him the keys and left him to it. I followed his progress from time to time on the CCTV. The two things I noticed were that he was taking a hell of a long time to replace one camera, and that he had a rather expansive Builder’s Arse-crack.
He was out there for about two hours which caused some confusion as the nurse arrived for her weekly visit and had nowhere to park. She ended up in a neighbours garden. I went out to my friend out front to see his progress. He had finished.
I checked that it was working and realised he had put in a whole new system. Fuck! This was going to be expensive. I asked him what I owed him.
“It was out of warranty” he grunted. I should add that he is a man of very few words at the best of times. In his world a grunt constitutes a sentence.
“I thought that, so what’s the damage?” says I as I took out my cheque book.
“Nothing” says he. “It shouldn’t have failed so I’ll cover it.”
Before I could say any more he turned on his heels and marched out the gate.
I confess I was speechless, which is an exceptional rarity.
But not as rare as a decent tradesman.
So give him some free publicity, like name, phone number, etc (unless of course he objects)
On this site? The Kiss of Death!
He was as you say a decent guy. Hats off to him.
Perhaps a bottle of something as a “Thank you”?
I have no idea where he lives or works. All I have is a number.
An old fashioned tradesman who puts professional pride and integrity ahead of profit – a rare thing now!
I have the great luck to being a customer of such a rare kind of old fashioned car mechanic – we both know, we’re lucky: I know, I can rely on him and without exception pay him a bit more than he asks, and he knows he’ll always gets a bit more than he asks … and that I’ll always be back.
I think it’s got not only to do with professional pride and integrity ahead of proft – it’s the difference between people who think short term and those who are able to think long term – short term, you might make more money by ripping people off, long term you’ll make more (and more regular) money, if you treat people fairly.
I have been using the same mechanic for thirty years or more. I trust him completely to do exactly as I ask [usually make sure the car will pass its annual test] and he will do precisely that, no more, no less. I just wish other tradesmen were as reliable as that.
Is sometin you do from time to time, la? Sometimes for an old fart like yourself (I’m beginning to resemble that my own self). Sometimes it’s a young woman with too many kids and no daddies. You do the job of work, up tools, and leave no bill. You take pride in a job well done, and recall that maybe it really is God working through you to help that poor sod/sodess. (Is that a thing?).
But a bottle of thank you is indeed called for here.
I’m a great believer in the Pay It Forward concept [hence the title]. I do work or favours for others and expect nothing in return. I think it is just an essential part of life. There is far too much emphasis on money these days.
A small village second-hand car/van-seller where I live has a novel approach to guarantees – as the first year expires, he phones the customer and asks if anything went wrong with the vehicle, if they report any problems, he asks how much it cost to fix, the next day the customer gets a cheque through the letter-box for that amount. He’s got many loyal repeat customers.