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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Monday, January 29

Evil Men Have Hearts Too

Remember when you were a kid… and there was always one old scary mean man that lived somewhere in a run down house… and NOBODY EVER WANTED TO GO THERE OR TALK TO HIM because he WAS the “Scary Man”. Well, now even into adulthood, some business owners have that sort of reputation too…and so goes it with a man down the road from my shop.

I own a pickup garage, and this company is a new business for us…only open since May 2006. There is another diesel shop just down the road from me, and the owner has the “scary man” reputation. I’ve heard horror stories from customers that state they will never step foot in his shop again EVER. Well, I’ve never met the man, even though we are technically competitors. I’ve never believed as a business owner to ever bad mouth another similar business; it just doesn’t need to be done. It’s unprofessional and only would lower me to that level. So, when I’m ever bombarded with another bad experience story of this man, I simply state, “I’ve actually never met him. I’m sorry you had a bad experience there, we will certainly do our best to serve your repair needs professionally here.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it… a few days ago one of the dealerships delivered some of his parts to my shop in error? My manager came to me and asked me how I wanted him to handle this. I stated that this would be the perfect time to finally meet this man and offer a hand of business friendship. I instructed him to hand deliver the parts to his shop and let him know what happened, and to offer him a business card and tell the man that if we can ever be of any service to him, just call. My manager looked at me with that perfect expression of a child that is about to be dared to knock on the “Scary Man’s” door. I told him not to worry…that rumors are usually exaggerated and he’s probably not that bad. So, off he went.

A short time later, my manager came back and told me this…”I did what you asked and how you asked because I respect you and my job. However, if I ever see this man again I cannot be responsible for what I might say or how I might treat him. He is the BIGGEST DICK I’ve ever had the displeasure to encounter.” I asked him what in the world happened, and he told me this story.

He showed up at the guy’s shop with parts and invoice in hand (actually in both hands). The business owner was on the phone literally SCREAMING at someone on the other end, and with the same breaths was SCREAMING at one of his own mechanics. My guy determines that he’s screaming at the dealership about the whereabouts of his missing parts. He says, “Oh, here’s a guy now…it better G__ Damn be the parts!”, and slams down the telephone receiver. He jerks the parts out of one hand of my manager and throws them at his mechanic and yells at him in a very condescending manner and demands that he finish the job RIGHT NOW. My guy is still standing there (mostly dumbfounded) because he hasn’t yet had an opportunity between Scary Man’s outbursts to let him know who he was, and how we came by his parts in error. Scary Man jerks the other parts out of my guy’s other hand and just flings them out into his shop hitting the floor with a skid. My guy is still standing there with an invoice, and Scary Man then jerks the paperwork out of his other hand and throws that on his desk as papers fly and rudely lets him know that “he could go now…what are you doing just standing there?” My manager quietly offers a handshake and a business card and lets him know who he actually is. My guy says you could see the color leave Scary Man’s face. My guy left feeling like every rumor he’d ever heard about this fellow was more than true…and a little disappointed inside that try as he might, his manners didn’t overcome the man’s natural rage and fury at the world. He came back to the shop with this story, and I almost felt bad about ever sending him there in the first place. I told him to consider the source, and if a similar thing ever happened again, we would let the dealership pick up their own parts and re-deliver them to the rightful place.

Then…lo and behold…the sun rose the next morning to a new day, and guess who came walking into my shop? Oh my goodness, it was Scary Man in the flesh. He came in to see my manager to apologize and give him a gift certificate to Wendy’s for some free lunch. He was in and out so fast; I did not even realize who he was. After his departure, my manager came up to my office and asked me if I saw him. I said, “I saw a guy come in and immediately leave, but he did not speak to me other than to ask for you.” He said that was Scary Man and told me of his kind gesture.

I immediately penned (typed) a short letter to him stating that I was the owner and was sorry we did not get formally introduced but that I thought his gesture of kindness was commendable and I appreciated his effort. I again offered a hand of business friendship and sent the letter off in the mail.

I doubt we will ever have much if anything to do with him in the future, and I have no idea if he received his letter or not, but it was nice to see evil have a kind face if only just for a moment. So, here’s hugs to Scary Man…may he be blessed with kind thoughts and a reconsideration of attitude.