I directed the Chivita driver to drive his vehicle over the air powered lift and after the small bus was in place I was able to raise the vehicle to a height I would be able to manage. He wanted to follow me under the vehicle but I wouldn’t allow him in such a dangerous zone. I told him, You just sit at the desk and read the newspaper and let me to check out the “Chivita.” He did as I instructed him.
After taking a good look under the bus, I didn’t find anything after cleaning off the motor area with a rag- nothing broken, hanging or missing. With some persistence and the same rag in hand I soon found just what the problem was. I discovered some lose screws which I suspected would not allow the engine to go into shifting gears or allow engagement. I turned off the motor and went back to confer with the driver.
By then I was acting as if I knew all the time what I was doing. I saw where one or both cables or joints had worked themselves loose and so, with the few tools I had on hand I was able to tighten the lose screws, that was seizing up the mechanism. That accomplished, I went back to the customer and asked him what had gone wrong with the engine. He tried to make me understand how the vehicle would not shift into gear as he said “I tried to put it in gear but it slipped out all the time.” Then I said to him, “OK, come over and try it now.” So he walked over to his bus which was still poised over the lift, and slipped into the driver’s seat. I raised the vehicle with him siting in it and raised the automobile until I could comfortably stand under it.
I then went to the front of the vehicle and said to him, “Shut off the engine and back the Chiva off the lift.” Then I asked him to drive it and and try getting it into gear. I patiently and confidently waited for him drive his vehicle around the shop and trying to put the vehicle into gear. It was then that I saw the welcomed look of satisfaction on on his face. The Chiva was back in shape for his routes. Secretly, I thought that the once worried driver of the bus could not be more pleased than I was.
Unknown to me, however, the main owners of my mechanic shop were on hand that day. I asked the customer to go into their office and tell them what had gone wrong with the vehicle and how I had fixed it. They all came out to greet me and asked me what had been wrong with the vehicle. We chatted a while and they seemed pretty impressed with my expertise. The new customer gladly paid for the repairs and waved at me with a very satisfied look on his face. After he pulled off I went back to what I had been doing which was finishing working on some of the advertising banners I had been dreaming up and hoping that they would bring in more customers. The shop, in fact, started looking like an art gallery, instead of a mechanic shop. I had found a new source of pride, however, in my mechanic shop.
The evening from that moment on would welcome me back from lunch with a new crop of customers who had left tires for me to fix and an an apparently new automobile to be washed and detailed inside and out. And so, I was back on thee car simonizing business as I had been doing for Simeon in Colon. The customers would leave the keys with me and I would lock them locked in the front office. This procedure soon became an habit with customers to leave their automobiles in the morning and reappear in the afternoon or late evenings to drive home. With a new sense of responsibility I started to sleep in the garage some nights, so that I would be ready in the morning to meet the new customers and the new day wearing my squeaky clean overalls which I had washed the night before. Clean. I was always careful to appear clean and tidy so as not to soil the interiors of the beautiful new cars that were rolling into my mechanic shop.