ED Magedson – Founder
Mr. Tire, Cravens Automotive Repair200 Davis Drive, Sterling VA 20164 Sterling, Virginia United States of America
How The Grinch Almost Stole Christmas, and the Mechanics Who Saved it.
I bring my car to a garage near work for an oil change. Does this oil change include topping off all of my fluids? I ask
No, thats our upgraded oil change for $yadda, $yadda [sic] more.
I go with the upgrade. Im already 4000 miles overdue and my car had begun making a strange noise when I turned the wheel, kind of a humming sound. Nothing a power steering fluid top off couldnt fix, I naively think to myself.
I leave my car, return to work, and within minutes get a call from the garage. Yeah hi, this is the garage, we got inside your car and you need a new power steering pump. Before I can catch my breath, he rattles off, so it will be $320 for the pump, $220 to install it and $119 to flush the system.
So here I am at work, in cube world, and the flashbacks begin: bills flapping in front of my face like hungry seagulls, my husbands face hovering, his words echoing from the night before: try not to spend any money this week until we get paid. Then the Pville Skating Rink and balloons cyclone past, the ones Id planned to have for my 8 year olds upcoming birthday party. It will have to be next year I can hear myself telling her.
He explains the seal is broken and leaking power steering fluid. Is it dangerous? I ask. No, but over the long term the motor will burn out, you will get metal shavings in your rack, and ruin the rack. Now any woman can tell you the words ruined and rack are never good when used together, but now I can only imagine how bad it must be when referring to an automobile. I pull in enough air to tell him Ill have to talk to my husband.
Now, my husband is handy but I leave my car repair to the experts. When I weigh the prospect of giving our little girl a broken power steering pump for Christmas, I would let him replace my entire braking system. At least I know that the life insurance payout would cover the cost years of therapy she would need after the greasy stocking incident of Christmas 2008. In a defeated voice, just get it done babe, was all my husband could muster.
I retreat out to the back of my office building and vent to a coworker, he gives me the name of another local garage. I call and immediately the voice seems so familiar, I shake the feeling and explain my situation. That does sound a little high, he tells me of the quote bring it in on Monday. I thank him for his time and ask to whom I am speaking. Mike he tells me. Im the owner. I hang up and put the name together Mike Fallon another wave of familiarity hits me but I still cant place it.
I began to dwell on what a pain it would be to take it for a second opinion. Just call them back and have them do it, theyll have it done today, and well be done with it, I think to myself. I reach for the phone to call the first garage to conceed, when it rings.
I see the number of my daughters school pop up on my caller ID. I switch from financial panic mode and into mommy panic mode as the school nurse explains, your daughter has a fever and says her throat hurts. Its funny how we women can switch from one panic mode to the next so effortlessly. Ill be there as soon as I canshoot, my car, it will have to wait!
Over the weekend and I realize why the name Mike Fallon was so familiar. When I was a kid growing up in Ashburn, almost 20 years ago, when it was still in the sticks, my parents took all of their cars to a young mechanic who worked at a local service station on Route 28. I realized it was Mike Fallon. Once, in college I took my Tercel to Mike for an emissions test. Donate it to charity. he said with such a pleasant smile as a cloud of black smoke dissipated from the service bay.
Also during the weekend I take an inventory of how truly blessed I am with or without $700. I think of those who have loved ones fighting abroad, those who dont have warm homes, those who are out of work, and those who continue to go hungry. I tuck my sick child into bed, kiss her fever-broken forehead, and I cant help but think of those who have lost children, who would give tenfold to have their babies, even for just one more Christmas. Then it struck me, I had lost sight that I have a loving family, a warm home, food in my belly, a job that I actually like, and a mending, but overall healthy child. These blessings, anyone will tell you, tough times or not, are priceless.
By Monday morning actually felt really good about bringing my business back to Mike. Mike calls back in less than 2 hours to tell me my car is ready. Great, I tell him, pausing, waiting for the bombshell. Good news, he says, you dont need a new power steering pump. What? I manage to stammer. He explains that the seal is just fine; and that the fluid is more than likely was coming from clamps that were loose. We tightened the clamps and cleaned it up and its ready to go. At this point Im blown away. Not to mention fuming with the Grinch at the other garage.
I go to Fallons to pick up my car, and I pull out my wallet. Wow I cant thank you enough, I tell him as I try to hand him my credit card.
Well you have a happy holiday, he responds, not reaching for my card.
Here, I say awkwardly extending the card across the counter.
Oh no, theres no charge maam.
Please charge me for an oil change or something, I insist. You ordered the pump, you took the time to tighten and clean the clamps, please my voice trails off.
No, just come back when you need an oil change he tells me and have a happy holiday.
My eyes begin to well with tears, I know there is no way to say what I want to say without sounding corny, and clich, but I blurt out anyway, You know, you all have literally saved my familys Christmas, and my daughters birthday. As the first tear spills over, despite my best effort to hold it together, I ask rhetorically, How do you explain a broken power steering pump to an 8 year old? He reaches out, touches my arm I know how it is having little ones, he says, I understand. Thank you so much is all I can muster.
You may have noticed that I chose not to name the Grinch in this story. They will know me as the young lady who told them that maybe if I got a Christmas bonus at work Id be back for the repairs. This is not the first tale of dishonesty I have heard about the Grinchs garage, but interfering with ones livelihood is not my style. Call it my inspired act of kindness.
Maybe the Grinch will be so moved by my act of kindness, that from now that he will be less concerned whether his wallet grows three times that day.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/27/2010 11:09 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/mr-tire-cravens-automotive-repair/sterling-virginia-20164/mr-tire-cravens-automotive-repair-sterling-virginia-20164-extremely-dishonest-and-told-560694. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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