“we shall be changed”
1 Corinthians 15:52
I got the oil in my car changed today. And I gotta tell you, it was pretty much the most pleasant experience one can have, when it comes to car maintenance.
You know how it is. You have to sit for a couple hours in a place that feels kinda dirty and smells kinda weird. Not bad, really, just weird. Like grease or rubber to whatever disinfectant they use to get the grease or rubber off their hands…
And the chairs are either hard plastic or Naugahyde that… well, see above for the dirty/smelly issue.
And the magazines are boring, but that’s really more my fault than theirs. I just don’t care to read Car & Driver or InStyle. They never seem to have a copy of National Geographic or Smithsonian Magazine in there.
Oh, and there’s generally a TV, but I don’t watch soaps or courtroom dramas, so I’m out of luck there, too.
But as I say: you know how it is…
Yet even with all that being largely true at my local Firestone, it’s not a bad experience. They are friendly and courteous, and fairly fast.
But the best thing about it is that I feel like they know me there. Which is sort of because they do. Not a lot, you understand. But enough. You see, my dad’s been going there for probably 20 years, and has developed a very pleasant working relationship with the manager, Tom. My dad’s good that way. Very outgoing, very friendly. He always manages to get a smile out of flight attendants and grocery store clerks and appliance technicians. And good service often accompanies that smile.
So a few years ago, my dad helped me out when I needed new tires on my car. He drove me over to Firestone and gave me advice on which tires were best for my car. And he introduce me to Tom.
Now I go back a few times a year. They change the oil, but also check the alignment and rotate the tires for free. All part of their service when you buy tires from them.
Now from the beginning, Tom has treated me like a friend. The first time I went in without my dad, I thought Tom was just a naturally friendly person ~ and maybe he is ~ but after a few standard pleasantries, he said, “How’s your dad?” I didn’t even know he remembered me. But he not only recognized me, he remember that I am my dad’s daughter.
Since then, I’ve been in enough times that I know he knows me. I’m a valuable customer now. But even when I was nobody important to them, I mattered because of who I knew.
Never underestimate the power of friends in high places.