Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rainclouds and Cookies

Today was one of those rainy, dreary days that make you just want to stay in and pull the covers over your head.  But, I had to jump out of bed, put on my big girl drawers, and deal with the day.  On the ride, I found beauty again in the rain and I searched for the positives.  I was reminded of my thoughts last week... I love the fall colors in the rain, like a muted oil painting, still wet from the strokes of a paint brush.

My thankful quote for the day became, "Today, I am thankful for the rain... for it makes days of sunshine all the more special."  I was determined to find positives, despite the weather.  But, life sometimes has a way of smacking you upside the head when you face the day this way.  I came across some moody attitudes, tense atmospheres, and bad news about my truck, yet I kept pushing.

Before I learned the bad news of my old truck, I decided today's interaction at a local parts store would receive an "act of kindness" for the day.  At lunch, I dropped a part off that Tim's been searching for unsuccessfully.  (The poor guy has been working on my truck for weeks and has hit a roadblock.  Nobody has the part we need and most don't even take the time to say so.)  He'd talked to someone earlier this morning, at said parts store, and they felt certain they could find it.

I felt out of place even before I walked in.  Girls and auto parts (at least this girl) don't really mix.  Nervously, I put the part on the counter, awaiting the numerous questions I knew would hit me for which I did not have answers.  Much to my surprise, the men behind the counter were pleasant, uncondescending, and helpful.  Aside from the obvious answer of "we don't carry that" this place took it a step further.  Mike was on a mission.

I waited.  He called.  I waited some more.  He searched.  As the clock kept ticking, and I kept sneaking a peek at it, he asked if I'd like him to call me later.  Leaving my number behind I headed back to the office.  On my way back, is when I decided to bring them a surprise upon my return - regardless of the outcome.  They'd gone out of their way to provide excellent customer service to a stranger off the street.  This deserved thanks.

Much to my dismay, Mike called later with the bad news.  No part.  And if we did luck into one somehow, it'd be over $600.  Not a price I'm willing to pay for a 97-paid-for-and-I'm-driving-til-it's-dead vehicle.  He gave me some ideas, apologized, and hung up just as disappointed as I was.  Yep, that settled it.  This man (and business) were getting cookies.  No, they didn't solve my problem but they did deliver amazing service and made a future customer out of me.

Yet, bringing in cookies to a group of strange men was a bit out of my comfort zone.  I second-guessed myself on the way to bakery and before walking into the store.  Even with the box in my hand, I wondered how their reaction would be.  Would they laugh?  Think it was a dumb idea?  After all, I was just picking up a part that they couldn't find a replacement to.  But, I took a deep breath, and went for the plunge.  My sweet boy was pushing me after all, reminding me I was really doing this in his memory anyway.

Mike was gone but the other nice man handed me my part, again with a look of disappointment they couldn't deliver.  I eased the box of cookies across the counter.  Surprised he looked down and I explained, "This is to thank you, and Mike, for trying.  You've been the only business to really take the time to search and we appreciate it."  It was just cookies but I could tell it made his day.  All the other men stopped what they were doing to watch and listen, probably also wondering if he were going to share.

Blushing, he said, "Ma'am, it's our job.  Sorry we couldn't do more."  I thanked him again and said we'd remember them for future needs.  On the way out another man, beaming with pride said, "And that's why we've been around since 31' - we put customers first." 

So, if you need parts and appreciate excellent customer service, check out Gipe Automotive in Owensboro.  Ask for Mike.  No cookies necessary but they sure appreciate them!


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