Speak the Truth

Something that I do really well is give great reviews when someone goes above and beyond to help. It’s not enough to just say thanks in the moment. Sometimes people need a little more.

Way back in 2012, I was driving a Chevy Cobalt. I loved that car and was excited to be able to keep it long term. That fall I was going to be promoted to a higher rank that came with a huge raise. The plan was to buy a Camaro once I got that raise. I was really excited because we had figured out that the other vehicle we had, a truck, fit our family just fine, the Cobalt was good for me to drive to work, and then I could have this Camaro.

But this stupid idiot screwed up and caused an accident which totaled the Cobalt. Boy #3 was a year old at the time and we were both checked out at the ER. We were fine, other than my knees were banged up and my shoulders and chest were bruised. But we were ok physically. But now that we were down to one vehicle, I had no choice but to take on another payment on something else. I was devastated and couldn’t chose what to get. Nothing was the same. And it was plainly clear that I wasn’t going to be able to afford the Camaro now.

Eventually I decided to get a Ford Escape. I had one before and it was nice enough. I wanted one with everything it could possibly have. And it had to be red. The dealership didn’t have what I wanted and I refused to be talked into anything they had in stock. If they wanted my business, they needed to get me what I wanted. Eventually the salesman turned it around and started working with me. He helped me find the lowest rate for a loan and he also found discounts for me. He also sent cookies and coordinated the installation of the dvd screens in the front headrests. He got me a rental during the installation. All he asked was that I fill out a survey about him. So I did. He called me afterwards and got really emotional. He said no one ever said anything that nice about him and he’d never had such a great survey before. He got a bonus and then special recognition within Ford. He was so grateful. He was pretty grumpy and not very helpful but he was suddenly a superstar at the dealership once my review boosted him up.

A couple weeks ago, our contractor asked me if I’d mind sending him a writeup about the bathroom job. I said absolutely and I wrote it quickly but was hesitant to send it. I wasn’t sure if I used the right words for things and he’d laugh at me or whatever. After we ran into him in Target over the weekend, I was reminded that I wanted to send it, so I emailed it to him on Sunday night. Yesterday morning he wrote back, thanking me profusely for such a good writeup. It was way more than he expected. But this man worked to keep costs down when he kept discovering problem after problem in our bathroom. He worked hard and messed with the neighbor’s tree branch on our behalf and then fixed a leaky pipe he found in the basement, even though he could’ve walked away from that.

When he came to do the first project estimate, which was a repair in the kitchen, he told me that he had been doing handyman stuff and woodworking on the side for awhile and right before the pandemic, he and his wife decided he should try to do it full time. When he was here, he explained all that and said his wife told him, “If you fail, you fail, but you have to try because this makes you happy.” He looked me in the eye and said, “I have kids, so I can’t fail.” This man works like his kids’ lives depend on it. I found out from this guy who works for him that the contractor’s wife makes great money and could support them with no income from him. But he doesn’t work like that. He works like he is the sole provider for his family. He hustles, he does things right, even if it’s not super fast. He explains things to you so you can understand and he’s ALWAYS patient with questions. When he kept finding problems in the bathroom, he was very clear about what would add to the price, and what he could work into the current estimate. He never leaves you guessing.

All that to say he deserves every word of what I wrote, if not more. I think it might look too biased if I said “Don’t bother with anyone else, just call this guy.” People might think I’m family or something. What was really striking to me in Target is that he called out to me when he saw me. I completely missed him and if he didn’t want to deal with me, he could’ve said nothing. But he’s not like that. He is kind and hard working. He made sure everything he did and left overnight wasn’t a hazard to the kids or the cats. He told the guy working with him that they had to keep the backdoor closed because of the cats. He pet the one cat who was willing to interact with him. He welcomed the kids home from school because he was here every day for three weeks. It was like he lived here too in a lot of ways.

If someone touches your heart with the way they help you or serve you, tell them. Thank them. And tell someone else who can also appreciate that, like their boss. Leave a nice review. People are much more willing to be nasty if they feel slighted, but I think the world would be a much better place if we spent more time noticing the positive and acknowledging when someone brought something good to your life. I think that is what will change things for all of us.

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