The family ventured down to Kiawah Island, South Carolina for our annual summer vacation. The car was packed and we made it down in record time (only drove 8 miles over the speed limit too…beware of the police in Richmond..they are as good as the parking ticket police in DC) and no speeding ticket for me. A few days into our fun in the sun vacation and our “check engine light” came on in our Toyota Sienna. Uggh. I had two choices: I could ignore it and gamble the 600 mile drive back home, or, I could listen to my better half (my wife that is) and get it checked out. I chose to check it out. Go figure.
I looked up a few places to take it and settled on a Firestone auto repair shop. The fella I spoke with one the phone could not have been nicer. So, I took it in the following morning as he suggested. It did not start out well as the gentleman behind the counter, a different fella, told me it would take all day just to look at it. “But the nice man I spoke to on the phone told me they could look at it first thing in the morning and it would only take an hour to check it out”. Thankfully someone stepped in and said they would call the other Firestone (about 2 miles away). Brandon said bring it right in and they will look at it. That was better.
I get over to the second Firestone and three people had come in in the 10 minutes it took me to get there. Brandon was going to make me wait, but…..he did something amazing. He took the nice button down shirt off his back, changed into his “mechanic’s shirt” (he literally went into a back room and changed), ran the diagnostics and then put the car up on the lift to look at it himself. It turns out it was a “moody” speed sensor. Not a major issue, but he checked all the sensors and made sure the wiring was intact. “This should give you piece of mind on your drive back home.” After about 60 minutes with the car on the lift Brandon finished his thorough inspection and analysis. He did put me at ease , but then he did something else amazing….
He did not charge me a penny for his time. “You are kidding me, right?”, I said to Brandon. “Nope, you are good”, he said. I thought to myself, “this is impossible!”, “where is the reality TV camera waiting for my reaction?”, “wow, southern hospitality does exist”. I left him “a little something” to take himself and his crew to lunch and I was on my way. Back to the beach to go boogie boarding with the kids and a car that would safely get us home.
Thanks to Brandon we did not worry one bit on our drive home. What Brandon did was extraordinarily simple and put our mind at ease. A true credit to his character. Maybe it is a sad commentary that I was amazed at such hospitality from the service industry, but I will take the “pearl” from this event. Brandon literally “gave” and did not count the cost. Where did you give and not count the cost today? St. Ignatius would be proud.