My husband and I have been vacationing for over 30 years in Southwestern Ontario because we love all the towns and the people. But on May 27, we were given even more of a reason to love the area, especially Chatham.
We arrived May 26 at Rondeau for our two-week vacation and, the next morning, drove to Chatham to grocery shop. We decided to shop at the Real Canadian Super Store as we have each time we are in the area.
We completed shopping, loaded up the truck … and it would not start. It would not even try to turn over. My husband looked at every possible reason it would not start but was baffled.
I called CAA and was told it would be about a 90-minute wait. This made us anxious, not just because the groceries were melting but it was the first time our 15-month-old puppy, Marley, was left alone in our trailer.
People stopped and asked if they could help or give us a boost but we had full battery power. Worried about the groceries and the frozen foods in the heat, I went into the store and approached the salad bar area. An employee named Jen could see I was distressed. I asked if we could keep our groceries in the cool while we waited for the tow truck. Immediately she said of course.
It was what Jen did after the tow truck arrived when I went into to pick up my groceries that blew me away. She replaced the thawing frozen food with fresh and very frozen ones. I was stunned at her thoughtfulness and kindness, and at no cost to us. Jen, at the Real Canadian Super Store, was the first of our angels of kindness that day.
During the wait for the tow truck, I Googled for any GM dealerships. The first to appear was Heuvelmans. I made the call and it was answered by service adviser Lori Scott. I explained where we were and what had happened and could the tow truck bring our truck to get looked at today? Lori immediately answered yes, and they had time this afternoon to look at our truck. I said the tow truck should be there within the hour, about 2 p.m. Lori said no problem, they would be waiting.
But the tow truck was delayed another hour and we did not arrive until after 3 p.m., but Lori was waiting and had been getting worried. That was our second surprise that day … how warmly we were greeted.
Lori greeted us like we were old friends. She took our groceries and placed them in the lunchroom fridge to keep cold and told us not to worry… they would figure out quickly what the problem was.
She even asked about our puppy, who had now been alone in our trailer in the heat for over four hours. She sat us down in the waiting area and asked if we needed anything as they looked at our truck. Within 30 minutes, they believed it was the starter and wanted to run a further diagnostic before replacing it.
Typically the customer would need to wait or leave their vehicle until the next day, but we didn’t have those options. Lori understood and was genuinely concerned for our dog and for us, as it had been a long day.
She quickly got us a 2019 loaner so we could get back to Rondeau to check on Marley and put away our groceries, get some dinner and rest. Her kindness and concern was above and beyond in customer service.
And for the second time that day, another angel of kindness was there. I could not help but hug Lori as we left our Silverado with her for repair.
As we travelled back to Rondeau, we took a wrong turn leaving the dealership and had to backtrack about 30 minutes. My cellphone rang as we were almost back at Rondeau, now almost 6 p.m. and it was Lori, wondering if we got safely back and asking how Marley was after being alone for so long. My husband and I could not believe how caring Lori was to us (and Marley).
There are angels of goodness and kindness and many live in Chatham. There are business decisions and services that are based on rules and protocol and then there are people like Jen and Lori who go above and beyond and act on instinct, knowing that it is the right thing to do.
My husband and I would also like to say a big thank you to the citizens in Chatham who stopped and offered us help in the Real Canadian Super Store parking lot. Thank you to the lady in Dollarama for making me smile in a tiring situation. Thank you to Nick the tow truck driver who pointed out some of Chatham’s great places to eat, the seven mechanics who pushed our truck into the shop to be repaired and thank you to the lady customer in the dealership who spent time chatting freely with us taking on minds momentarily off the unfortunate day’s events.
Our story is truly a testament that kindness and service, but mostly kindness in this fast-paced world still exists. We often forget that what we do for others, out of the goodness of our hearts… simply because it is the right thing to do, can really make a huge difference on how we all look and treat at each other.
Kindness is alive and well in Chatham, Ont.
Laurie and John Small