Paying it forward in Knoxville

By Mike Steely

steelym@knoxfocus.com

I was at a local auto service center recently to get the oil changed in my wife’s car on a FREE oil change coupon. I’ve had work done there many times and the last time I was given two free oil changes.

Since it’s difficult to find a trustworthy mechanic, I’ve found that particular company and, given their truthfulness with me, I now turn to them for repairs, advice, etc. The car I took in takes one quart more oil than most cars and I asked them if they would rotate the tires. They did all that at NO charge.

While I was there a woman came in with an older Taurus in need of an oil change. While she and I were waiting we began talking and I found that she is a trainer for a restaurant chain and new to Knoxville. She said she trains staff and must be in Ohio Sunday to do that.

I noticed the driver’s side outside mirror was dangling on her car and I asked the service manager if they could put a screw in it to momentarily fix it. He said they would at no charge.

The service manager then came out with some bad news. The front brakes on her old car were in desperate need of repair. The pads were too thin and her rotors could not be turned. So she needed a complete front brakes job.

The news brought tears to her eyes. She said she couldn’t afford to fix them and the service manager told her she might have two weeks left on the brakes before it becomes “metal to metal.” He recommended a local brake shop. Although the center did brakes, he knew she might get a better deal at the competitor. She was still crying.

He told her she could write a letter to their main office as the company performs two FREE auto repairs, up to $2,000, for two people in need  each month.

Obviously, with her planned business trip, she could not wait for a response to a letter.

The service manager went back into the shop and came out.

“Tell you what I can do,” he said. “I’ll pay for the parts, that’s about $85, and we’ll waive the normal repair cost of about $165 if you’ll agree to pay our mechanic $25. I’ll buy the parts myself,” he said.

She had tears in her eyes again, but tears of joy. She told him she could do that and he went behind the counter, got on the phone, and ordered the parts.

I left with a really good feeling. I know that, as a new Knoxvillian, that lady will be taking her car back to that repair shop whenever she needs to have it serviced. And she’ll tell her friends.

Like I just told you.

 

 

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