Survivors, they do what they have to do.
“I take pride in honesty, honesty is the most important thing in my business.” Devin, of West Park Service Center, Long Beach, NY
Many of you fellow Americans have auto repair shops in your own communities whose owners live by the same policy…honesty. And in these most trying times for our country, it might be good to pay them back for their honesty.
I needed to get my eleven-year-old Prius with 69,000 miles inspected so I pulled into West Park Service at Lafayette and Park in Long Beach. I was surprised to find a spot in their lot, usually, it’s packed with cars.
But when I spoke with Devin the owner of the repair service he told me business was off 95% due to the coronavirus. He said he had to lay off all three of his workers. He said he’s doing all he can to keep his door open for business.
I added an oil change to the work order and asked Devin to check the brakes, they had been making noise. I also told him I had to get a battery jump last week due to the car sitting idle for about a month. I couldn’t remember when I bought the battery, it’s been a while, so I asked him to check that too. I was practically asking to be sold a battery.
He called to say the front pads needed replacement. I told him to replace the pads and the rotors.
When he called to say the car was ready he said the battery held a charge just fine, no need for a new one. Even with his back to the financial wall, he was still honest.
When I went to pick up the car I told him, “You know the reason I keep coming back is that when I first started coming here, I detected a sincere honesty in you.” He said, “I take pride in honesty, honesty is the most important thing in my business.”
I was impressed.
But doesn’t this tell me something sad about life, that I should find an honest man unusual? Shouldn’t I find the dishonest man unusual? Most businesses are honest but I have learned in any business dealings I do have to keep my guard up. I suspect, so do you. Maybe it’s because we’ve all been bitten a time or two.
Devin leases the repair shop from the station owner who has one staff person collecting money for gas sales. The gas price is high but Devin has no control over gas prices.
The price might be high because it’s a personal-service gas station. The owner did have to let the gas-service person go but since the owner’s working with Devin to help him keep his business, Devin returns the favor by filling in as a gas jockey.
Devin has applied for small business funds but as of yesterday… he has yet to receive a dime.
When Devin opened his shop three years ago, the previous shop owner didn’t have a good reputation in the neighborhood. But through Devin’s honesty, skill, and perseverance, he overcame that past owner’s reputation.
Yesterday I posted my experience to I Love Long Beach on Facebook. Among similar comments there:
Good to know! I was due for an oil change and then all this happened so I never got it done… plus I’ve always gone back to my local guy where I grew up, so I needed a new place I could trust!
Devin is great. We use his services all the time.
Devin, honest man, best service. I will only go there for my car repairs.
This gas station provides compressed air at the side of the building…free. The only station around, to my knowledge, that does so. All year long people fill their bike and car tires at no cost.
That compressor runs on expensive electricity. On many a cold morning cars line up, mine included, to fill suddenly deflated tires…free of charge. Boardwalk bikers detour on Lafayette to do the same. We need to be grateful for that.
Business is off at his shop these days mainly because people aren’t driving, no place to go, many are laid off. But there are those of us who haven’t been much affected by the economic slide. I think we fortunate Americans can pick up some of the business slack.
Maybe if we Americans baring with this Corona storm better than most we might consider visiting our local honest repair shop, getting our oil changed a month or two early, get borderline tires replaced, or get other repairs done that we might have been putting off. Get a tune-up!
Help these honest, hard-working Americans get over this hellish hump.
Devin lives in Queens, (He’s looking for a 2 or 3 bedroom home in Long Beach) and his commute is usually an hour but with the corona traffic now it’s half that. When he gets here he’s the repair shop owner, mechanic, and fill-up guy. He’s doing whatever it takes to save his business.
Gotta salute that.
Americans, wherever you live, supporting the Devins of our country is doing them a solid. But you’d be doing a favor for yourself, and your community too. If a reliable and honest man is put out of business, who knows who will replace him?
Support your honest businesses, any way you can. And when you do so, let them know why you’re supporting them.
I read something long ago that’s stayed with me through the years, paraphrasing: When you see the goodness in people, they see that you see the goodness, and it brings out more goodness.
And, I think…more payback.