Saturday, April 21, 2012


No, I don't have a picture of Carl. Carl is my service advisor for all things Corolla. I went today for my regular lube, oil, and filter service. I also needed an emissions test and safety inspection so I can further pay for the privilege of licensing my car for another year.

Flashback to last fall...I went in for a similar LOF and everything was great. The next morning, my car wouldn't start. I got it to start after school and drove it back to Carl. I explained to him, probably in a fifth grade teacher sort of voice, that the reason I pay him lots of money to regularly maintain my car is so that I can count on it to start in the morning, especially the morning after a maintenance service. Well, my battery was old and dead (8.5 years old to be exact, which I found out is a pretty darn good long time!). When they tested it, it was fine, so the mechanics didn't catch it. It wasn't really Carl's fault, exactly, but he was the one on the receiving end of my words. The mechanics never show their faces. Carl gave me a new battery for free, had my engine steam cleaned, and had the car washed and vacuumed. I'm not stupid. I know that no matter how much free stuff Carl does for me or gives to me, they are all still making a living over there, but Carl strives to help his customers feel like coming back next time. I hope the dealer knows how lucky they are to have him.

Fast forward to this weekend. I called Carl to let him know I would be in this morning. He's a friendly receptionist--waves as you pull into the service drive, jogs right over to get your door for you, calls you by name, and all that good customer service stuff. We chatted for a moment while he wrote up my service order and then I headed for the waiting area with my book. After a while, Carl came to me with some bad news. My nine year old vehicle had a couple of leaks. He explained everything. I asked questions. I told him I needed a few minutes to think it over and call my husband. K was fine with the repairs and we decided to do it now (when will the repair ever be less expensive than now?). I gave Carl the go ahead. As he passed by once, he placed a wrapped chocolate of some sort right in front of me and said, "Delicious!" I let it sit there for a long time because I knew I had a long time to wait, so I just kept reading. I finally gave up the fight, wrapped up my chewing gum and enjoyed the Mrs. Field's chocolate covered cookie dough treat. Does Carl have people skills? Yes, yes he does.

After a few more minutes, Carl came into the waiting room with Cheryl, an elderly woman who was threatening to faint on the service drive. He was holding hands with her and kind of steering her by the elbow. She was walking slowly, talking about how she'd lost a third of the feeling in her right leg, and needed something to eat. Carl seated Cheryl comfortably and then proceeded to get her some popcorn and hot chocolate. Carl is married with two sons and I am desperate to meet his wife. I want to know if she is treated this well at home!

As Carl passed by me again, I said, "Carl, I have a sick feeling in my stomach--just tell me we made the right choice by getting those leaks fixed now." As he grabbed my chewing gum and chocolate wrapper trash, he said, "Jody, you're ruining the surprise at the end! I'm not going to charge you for the emissions testing and safety inspection." No kidding, tears welled up in my eyes. And the NEXT time he passed by, he slipped me another chocolate!

When all was said and done (and the car was washed, vacuumed, and even the inside window was cleaned with the dash wiped down), Carl grabbed the wrapper from the second chocolate, handed me my paperwork, and escorted me to the cashier. I thanked him for giving me a discount, got a little teary-eyed once again, and mentioned that my husband is staring at unemployment as of June 8th, wanting to really let Carl know how much I appreciated him. He didn't bat an eye or skip a beat. He said, "Jody, I see about forty people a day. Bring a stack of resumes and I'll hand them out." You see, Carl isn't just a service advisor. He's also working as a psychologist, nursing home care taker, restaurant server, custodian, and Human Resources Manager!

For the first time in our nine year "relationship" Carl gave me a little side-arm hug. I wonder if those cashier ladies see this stuff all day every day or if K and I are just lucky to have Carl in our cheering section. Either way, I pray that he and his wife and their two sons will have all the blessings they need. Thank you, Carl!

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