I believe in a rule in life that many find foolish—that every individual is essentially good, unless proven otherwise. Of course, this means dealing with people who try and take advantage of my niceness—considering it weak.
I don’t mind being tagged a fool. So, it is with an open heart that I roam the streets of New York and often meet people like Harry. He has owned Harry’s Auto Repair in Brooklyn for many years.
Through years of booming business and even when he was struggling to find his feet in America, he had one rule: “Be nice to your customers. If you are nice to people, they will believe in the work you do. If you disrespect your customers they will talk. Then no matter how hard you work your business will not grow.”
I believed every word of advice Harry offered. I had called him half an hour before I met him in person to ask about where I can get my car detailed. I needed to return my rental to the airport in less than 2 hours. It was covered in pet hair. They would charge me a bomb if I didn’t get it done from some place inexpensive but good.
“Don’t worry,” Harry reassured me. “The shop right next to mine does a great job. They’ll make your car as good as new.”
So I drove down, got my car detailed, but when I was about to pay, the owner told me, “cash only.” I ran to the closest ATM machine but my cards failed to work. I now had 30 minutes left to return the car to JFK.
“Just give me a way out,” I protested. ” I can venmo you the money or write a check, but I need to return the car right now.”
“Don’t worry,” the owner said. “You—a nice lady. Take the car and go. Just pay me when you can.”
I drove off, returned the car, and didn’t pay no extra dime. Instead, the rental company was impressed with the condition of the car.
The next day I woke up at 7 in the morning, withdrew the money I needed, and dashed straight for the detailing workshop. I went inside and gave the money to the owner. His eyes lit up with joy.
“I knew you would come back,” he said.
“Thank you for trusting me,” I replied.
“Don’t worry—it’s only money. Trust is more important.”