Let me tell you a little story.
We bought a brand new motorhome in June 2017 due to our old motorhome having a generator issue that couldn’t be resolved in time for us to keep our scheduled trip.
A generator in a motorhome is only secondary in importance to the actual engine. It provides A.C. to the kids in the back, allows you to cook, keeps the fridge on, all the things you buy a motorhome for are able to function because of the generator.
Now imagine you have just driven 6,000 miles across the USA over 6 weeks, having chosen the forsaken path of the southern states in the summer heat & humidity, and essentially everything with your brand new motorhome has not worked along the way.
And as you sweat through the searing heat of Houston to San Antonio to Waco, Texas, suddenly your generator in your brand new motorhome decides it’s done working, gas spilling out of it, fumes filling the coach, an explosion imminent.
Kids are now suffering from the heat, can’t open the windows as it’s too hot out there, have to buy a fan that can run off the car battery. Once we hit Dallas on Sunday, July 23rd, we were done.
I told the kids, “Guys, we’ve had a great trip, but now with the generator not working, and you in your underwear to keep from passing out, we must get home as fast as possible. I’m very sorry, but we are driving 1,234 miles the next day and a half.”
We parked at the nearest campground, began to set up camp, when suddenly the slide-outs stopped working, making it impossible to sleep in our beds, or even climb to them. Having accidentally eaten some pizza on the trip, I was no longer able to squeeze between the TV and the wall to get to my bed. Fat guy in a little space….!
Yes, this trip is over.
The next morning we made a last ditch effort to see if anyone could help us. We called Cummins, the generator manufacturer and found out their headquarters are in Dallas! So we drove there….and quickly realized this is the HQ, not the service department.
Quickly re-routed to the other Cummins with service, we pulled up, with no appointment, having been told they were 6 weeks booked out, and I sent my wife in the building to beg for help.
Luckily my wife is good at asking others for help. Me, I have a tough time with it.
Enter in this story Ralph.
Ralph is a diesel mechanic. He was the only person in the service department working that morning and told us the generator professionals weren’t in on Mondays.
But he said he’d come look at it and see what he could do.
As gas came pouring out, spewing the case over, me unwilling to even attempt to touch anything on this generator which has WARNING: DEATH IF YOU TOUCH HERE signs plastered all over it, Ralph said, “I’ll be honest, I don’t work on these and don’t know if I can fix it, but I’ll try to see if I have something.”
Ladies & Gentlemen, this was the first person of every service person we have dealt with in over 6 weeks that said they were willing to try to help.
A glimmer of hope.
He returned, with a simple clamp, a new tube, removed the corroded rotten one (on the brand new generator???), and replaced it.
We started up the generator and suddenly the A.C. came on, our children screaming with joy, manna from heaven, a tear rolling down my sun-leathered cheek.
As I went in for the hug Ralph was not sure what to do.
I was going to spin him around, like Beauty & the Beast, and he was the Belle of the Ball. But I didn’t, I just wept on his shoulder in greasy gratitude for his kindness to help us.
And that’s when I whipped out $100 to give him as a Thank You.
“Oh, no, Thank You though, they pay us well here, and I’m happy to help.”
OK man, come here – that’s when I forced him to take a selfie with me as I pronounced, “Ralph, you will be in my blog! You will be in my stories on stage! You will be famous for your kindness!”
He laughed and said, “Have a nice day. Glad I could help.”
For anyone that has ever been on the road, either of business, or family, or an actual road trip, to finally find someone willing to help is sadly a rarity, yet when it happens it becomes the thing of legend.
Ralph will have a place in Hewlett-lore as the story grows from a simple leak, to eventually an explosion and suffrage, but the kindness of a Ralph can never be denied, never be taken for granted, and will never be forgotten.
I’m sure you’ve met a Ralph, someone who unexpectedly saved the day, and turned your devastation into hope. That’s what Ralph did for us.
But then we still drove as fast as we could in a day and a half, 1,234 miles from Dallas, TX, home to Salt Lake City, UT, and have never been more grateful to just be alive.
- Follow Up to this story: I hunted down Cummins media team and sent this story to them. Just received this from upper management – awesome!
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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