ALL I NEEDED was an oil change for my Toyota Sienna, which has over 200,000 miles on it (322,000 km).
I suspected I might need more, once the auto shop got my better-than-an-SUV vehicle up on the rack.
Charles from the repair shop called back and said most everything looked good, but that it’s probably time to flush and change some of the fluids: coolant, transmission, power steering. Price tag for everything: about $450.
Then I explained why I was pausing.
I said I wondered if it would be best to wait on some of those things until they go on sale, because I think I remember seeing sales on some of those.
Charles said if I let them do all three, he would give me a $30 discount.
Me: Do you give discounts for good looks?
Charles: (Laughter.) No, we don’t offer that particular discount.
Me: Well, I would have had to call on my daughter for the looks anyhow. (My wife was sleeping off a night shift.)
I got the work done. When I went to get the mini-van, Charles walked up to the front desk. I’ve been doing business there for years, but we didn’t know each other beyond “I’ve Seen That Face Before.”
Me: I’m here for the Sienna.
Charles: Now that I see you, no discount.
What’s that have to do with the Bible?
Clearly, Charles was enjoying himself. So was I. I enjoyed the light-hearted exchange over the phone. Then in person, I enjoyed seeing Charles get the last laugh.
Even as I stood there, I wondered how many times in a day an auto service technician found a reason to smile.
I think it’s good to wonder that about anyone we find ourselves doing business with during the day.
There’s a lot of anger and pain out there right now. We might not be able to cure the problem with kind words and gentle jokes. But it’s worth a try.
“A cheerful disposition is good for your health” (Proverbs 17:22).
I suspect a cheerful disposition is contagious – and good for the health of anyone who comes into contact with us.
You might give it a try.
And if you’re especially game, here’s another idea. Experiment: One thanks for each complaint.
You should have taken your grandson along with you to the auto repair shop. Charles would have never said no to that cute little face!
Stephen M. Miller
Yeah, I think you’re right, Gary.