Still catching up on my daily gratitude blog posts… Here is the gratitude blog post intended for Wednesday, November 21, 2012, the day before Thanksgiving.
Here is another blog post involving a business with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of working for nine years – Steven Lee’s Auto Clinic on route 1. Shortly after we moved to southern Alexandria in November 2003, we had car problems.
At that time, our new Chevy Cavalier was barely two years old. We were still in the honeymoon phase with our car, totally enjoying the great drives. We traveled a lot between our old apartment at Van Ness in Washington, D.C. and our new home in southern Alexandria. Something gave out one day, in the driveway of our new home.
I don’t know how he did it, but my husband managed to get our non-working car to the Auto Clinic. My husband met Steven Lee, owner of the Auto Clinic, on that fateful day. Would you believe that Mr. Lee was not going to charge my husband for the service? He looked at our car, determined it needed a new battery, and sent my husband off to buy a new battery. He directed my husband to buy a new battery and he would install it.
My husband was so grateful for that service, that he didn’t know what to do. Of course, he thanked Mr. Lee and gave him some token money for his time. We have both been hooked ever since.
It goes without saying that Mr. Steven Lee and his loyal mechanic staff provide excellent customer service. They are all skilled technicians, having no problem lifting the car above ground, doing whatever diagnostics tests are needed, and fixing the car to the best of their abilities. I’m almost embarrassed to say how many times we’ve gone to see Mr. Lee over the years. Too many to count, for sure, but so many stories to tell!
Besides providing stellar customer service and extraordinary “good will,” as he likes to call it, Mr. Steven Lee is the Jerry Seinfeld of the automotive industry. He picks up on the distinct foibles and complaints of customers and converts them into humorous messages on the huge whiteboard that sits prominently behind the sales desk.
My favorite of Mr. Lee’s distinctive whiteboard sayings “Definition of insanity = doing the same thing over and over, expecting to get different results!”
Throughout the many occasions I’ve had to visit the Auto Clinic, I’ve also gotten to know Mr. Lee’s serious side. I’m not 100% certain of Mr. Lee’s birth country, so I will not make assumptions, but I can say with confidence that he adheres to Chinese principles devoutly. I made an innocent comment one day about the fact that his business was doing so well and that he should be so proud to own such a wonderful, large building at an incredibly prominent location. Mr. Lee only responded that the Chinese believe that they own nothing unless it is a full ownership. He was referring to the fact that the bank owed most of his property.
The Auto Clinic and Mr. Steven Lee’s dedication to providing outstanding customer service are well documented on his wall. Walk into his shop and you’ll see actual letters from satisfied customers in frames hanging on his wall. After having been a satisfied customer for nine years, I can honestly and most definitely attest to that level of dedication.
Because Mr. Lee and his staff have been so attentive and dedicated to our many, many, many automotive needs over the last nine years, I found it only appropriate to return the favor back in May 2012. My husband and I received the miracle of a new 2012 car. Great news for us, not so great for Mr. Lee as he was losing our business for a while. I put on my brave face, timidly drove the new car to the Auto Clinic, and apologized to Mr. Lee for not being able to see him for a while.
Mr. Lee became radiant, eyes bright and wide, and told me that I “did good” with the new car purchase. He had only been advising us to buy a new car for the last three years, so his dream and our dream of us having a new car and retiring our old Chevy Cavalier came true simultaneously.
I’ll never forget that moment a few years back when our trusty Chevy Cavalier was starting to show signs of aging. My husband and I were not sure if our car was preparing to enter the gates of car heaven, so we took it to the master to look at it. The master looked at it alright and had to keep our car overnight. Surely a bad sign for us, as this sounded like t would be a long operation.
The next day, we went back to the Auto Clinic and received the bad news that we’d need several thousand dollars of repairs. We were alarmed, to say the least. We chose to not pursue that costly operation and headed to check on our old, trusty car. We couldn’t find it. As it turned out, Mr. Lee’s staff had moved our car behind the dumpster just to make room for other cars that had come in.
We were surprised at this and asked Mr. Lee if our car was alright in that spot. “But wouldn’t that (the position of the car behind the dumpster) tempt people to steal our car?” I’m not exactly sure why we asked that question, but the response was classic Mr. Lee. “No one would want to steal your car.” Yup, even in the seriousness of our car problems, Mr. Lee’s sense of humor was intact.
I highly suggest you take your car to be serviced at Steven Lee’s Auto Clinic. When you go, you’ll receive nothing short of dedicated customer service, superior knowledge of the inner workings of our car, plenty of “good will” as described by Mr. Lee, and everything will be deliciously topped by a clever sense of humor that is distinct and a great pleasure to witness.
I am extraordinarily grateful for all that Mr. Steven Lee, his right-hand man Max, and Mr. Lee’s strong, detailed, dedicated staff have done to service our Chevy Cavalier in the last nine years. I know our new Chevrolet Equinox will make it to Auto Clinic at some point in 2013 for a routine check-up, and boy, am I looking forward to it!
What are you grateful for today? I hope you will please share your thoughts in the comments section!