Before I continue with my story of Monsieur in the white Audi S5 and my road travel, I need to take time to pause and say “Thank You.” As a gypsy woman in search of her man, I spend a lot of time in my car going here and there. After acquiring my first Honda in 2006, it has been smooth sailing. But as with life, things begin to wear down and need attention paid to it. This is where two separate Honda dealerships come into play.
Chris Murray, service advisor for Heritage Honda, 9213 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD, displayed the first sampling of customer service. I had taken the car in for routine oil and filter maintenance. After its completion, Chris had a nice one on one with me about the other findings during the cars inspection. “Your back brake pads are wearing down and the boots need replacing.” He explained what the “boots” meant. I told him not a problem, I would handle it. What he didn’t know is that the piggy bank was dry and it would be awhile. He gave me a knowing look and stated the seriousness of the matter. I blew it off for a while but as the weeks went by, his look and the sternness of his words continued to haunt me. The week before my journey westward, I called the dealership and he was able to squeeze me in before 3 p.m. but anything later would not be possible. I made it under the wire and the car went into the bay for its operation.
Two hours later when she rolled out, I questioned him about the repairs. My smug attitude surmised that it was an elaboration on his part. Chris replied “The boots had begun to shred and oil was leaking from them. What is costing you 200.00 now would have been 1,000.00 not including the other damages you would have met on the road.” Yikes!
My second guardian angel appeared in Victorville, CA. Fred Francia is the service advisor for Valley-Hi Honda, 15710 Valley Park Lane. I pulled into the garage and stated that I needed an oil and filter change after my long journey from the East Coast. He began to tease me that he could see the air escaping from my very poor and tread worn tires. I laughed stating I knew I needed tires but it would have to wait until I could get some cash flow. After all, didn’t I just drive across the United States on them without any problems? He made a few more jokes, we laughed and I went inside, took a seat in the waiting room and began to read a book. Fred rounded the corner 15 minutes later, wanting to discuss the tires. I thought “What now?” He went on to say that there was a nail in one and not repairable. “The walls are bad on the others.” I bugged him off stating that I would return later that week to take care of the situation. He left the room and I went back to my book.
Fifteen minutes later, guess who showed up again? “How persistent,” I thought. He questioned how far I would be driving, fearful that the tires may blow. “I’ll be fine, not far at all.” He nodded, and walked away. Before I could cross my eyes, he reappeared. “Now what?” I thought,“I guess he hasn’t any other customers to pester.” “Ms. Johnson,” he began, “I cannot with full knowledge let you drive away from here with those tires in that condition. I would feel so bad if something happened to you. How would I explain to my boss that we could have prevented an accident if we had spent 30.00 on a rental car?” I jokingly told him that he didn’t want to visit me in the hospital. I noticed the seriousness on his face and stopped. “We rented a car for you at our cost. Enterprise is on their way to pick you up.” I thought he was joking until ten minutes later, someone called out my name and away I went.
Early the next day, the dealership called and said the car was ready for pick up. I am safe today because Fred went one step beyond his job and put customer safety first. “It’s not my job or concern” did not cross his mind. In a world of “give me” or “whatever” there is still a genuine concern for a human being in a sometimes thank less job. Because of these two men, my road trips and discoveries can continue…safely.