The Promise of Being Helpful

The Most Dreaded Words a Non-Mechanic Can See in a New Motorhome 1,000 miles from Home


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.

My Incredibly Patient and Saintly Wife, Tami, & Ralph at Cummins


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.

Ralph, Cummins Angel, Miracle Worker, Denier of Tips, Legend of Kindness


  • 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


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.

Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.

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30 thoughts on “The Promise of Being Helpful”

    1. Oh wow! THE Jeanne Robertson!!! Means a lot that you’d read it, more that you liked it, and the most that you commented! Love you my friend. Yes we let the supervisors know, such a good guy that Ralph.

  1. We’ve been through the hell of traveling with an RV having problem after problem. It’s a nightmare. Especially on the man the whole family is looking at to solve the problem. Glad you are home safe. I heard you at the Scentsy convention. You were awesome. Thanks for taking the time to come.

    1. Hi Kami! Yes, it was interesting, but as tough as it was, to look back at it even a week out, it was something I couldn’t trade. Scentsy was so fun!

  2. Great bit of Helwlett-Lore, Raptor Man – – – –

    – – – – and you got a response from an angel – the goddess of funny! Jeanne Roberson! How cool is that!

    If you read this Jeanne, we’al loves ya’all out hyar in these parts. Aren’t Jason’s stories great?!


  3. Hello Jason, Great story! You were amazing at the paparazzi convention this past week. I’m so inspired. Thank you!

  4. That is a beautiful amazing story Jason! I feel like I know you’re family personally after your introduction of them at the Paparazzi conference in Vegas! I’m so glad everything worked out. Remember, God continues to do just what He says!

  5. I laughed so hard when you told this story during our Paparazzi Convention. I laughed even harder after I read it having had just had car trouble yesterday. Thank you for sharing your stories & your wonderful insight to life. You are very talented.

    1. Thank you Fran! Paparazzi was amazing! I hope the car trouble was resolved and you were able to laugh about it in the end!

  6. Jason, sorry you did not make it all the way to the Carolinas like you planned. It was a pleasure to meet you and hear your great message at the MHEDA Convention in SLC. Thank you for sharing the story about Ralph. For those of us in the equipment sales and service business, technicians don’t always get the credit and recognition they deserve for being the face of the company and doing a great job as an ambassador for the company. Your story shows just how valuable the technician role is in reputation of a company!

    1. Hi Hal! MHEDA was awesome, so fun to be there with you all. I must not have specified well enough where we ended up going, but we fulfilled the mission of the trip and yes, hit both Carolinas! In fact, Myrtle Beach is where I started my career, so we stayed there a few days. On the way back we ran into the challenges that Ralph solved. What a good guy he was! Thank you for your message and for your work.

  7. Thank you for sharing the authentic ups and downs of life in a way that makes us all grateful for our own moments. How you share your heart and your family adventures in love is a gift to us who love and follow you.

  8. Hi Jason, I’m the President of the Gulf Region for Cummins and I can’t thank you enough for sharing this story! That’s Ralph Huffman and I/we will absolutely make sure he is well recognized for the experience that he (finally) gave you in Dallas! I would, however, like to know how many stops (and where) you made prior to Dallas and see if we can make this the “standard” at Cummins. That is certainly our intention! I really appreciate you taking the time to send us this feedback. Customer Experience and Employee recognition are both right at the top of our priority list. Thanks again. Tom Shepherd

    1. Oh my gosh! Tom! Thank you for reading it. I tried to send it to public relations at Cummins, grateful it found it’s way to you. Ralph is a superstar, I hope he is well recognized by the company. Your question about how many others we tried, well, the reason we had to buy a new RV in the first place was because the Cummins Onan on our Winni started having issues before we began our cross country trip, so we had to get rid of our beloved little Class-C and buy the behemoth Fleetwood. Before leaving, in Utah, we contacted Cummins to beg them to just look at our old Winni, to help us out for 5 seconds, I even offered to pay double or triple whatever they charge….they ran it by management and said you’re out of luck, it will be 6 weeks until an opening. We had to leave the next day. So I bought a new RV. I feel it would be wise to help out those that are both in desperate need and to even just have someone tell you what they might think is wrong – that is all. But that didn’t happen in my state of Utah so that was very disappointing, and led us to have to buy a new RV on the spot and really made a mess of our summer. BUT, all that said, Ralph’s helpfulness outshines all of it, and we were so grateful for him.

  9. Jason, thank you for your story. Like so many from Paparazzi, our family felt that you are one of the few speakers who actually connect with Paparazzi and know/understand our business. I guess 3 appearances helps but still, you take the time to listen and get to know the people you are speaking about/with. All of your stories, about your family, your personal experiences & dealing in Las Vegas, and your voice characters, made for a truly amazing and heartwarming experience. You were also the best guest emcee we have had to date.

  10. I am so happy you made it to Vegas to Bless us with your humor and family values. I really hope you are there next year as well., My husband will love watching you. you had me crying several times thru out the week, I left my 2 year old daughter for the first time ever to come to Vegas and was missing her like crazy, and you helped with all the laughs to forget for a moment that I was away from her. Thank you for all you do and for taking time away from your family to be with ours. God Bless

  11. Getting back from another family trip! I tear up thinking about, Steve, (out in hero). When we were in trouble in Odesas, MI. Keeping his station open late so we could get home. These are the guys that keep America running.

  12. Jason,
    The Paparazzi Convention in Vegas was an amazing experience for me. My first one and my first time experiencing you. I laughed thru out the week at your hilarious role of emcee and was surprised to see that you were the ‘keynote’ speaker. I did not know what to expect, but you, sir, were not it. Let me say that is NOT a bad thing! I knew your ‘job’ was to inspire us and encourage us to succeed, but you did that and SO MUCH MORE. I was so truly awed by your ability to make me laugh, make me think, and make me strive to be more. Most speakers, in my experience, are going to ‘hype’ you up and fill you with sugary hype that wears off after a few days or weeks, but you were able to inspire by taking sound, Christian values and building on what we all should be/do daily anyway. No fluff, no hype. Sincere, honest and spot on! Thank you for all you do! You did indeed deliver on your promise.

    Lisa Brown

    PS. I want to thank you from a proud Mama also. Your closing song, “God Bless the USA” had me in emotional tears. Both of my boys, ages 19 and 21, have recently (June and July) left for the Marine Corp Boot Camp. This was the first time a ‘patriotic’ theme came up since their departures and I have to say a new swell of pride arises when it’s YOUR children that are represented in the moment. I miss them so much, but I am so very proud of their decisions.

    1. What can I say Lisa, this is so over-the-top kind of you. Thank you. And I’m so proud of your family and your son’s decisions to serve. God bless them and you.

  13. I think the thing about experiences like that is they make the memory of the trip stay with you longer. My parents made travel a priority for us. They have the belief that memories are more important than things and I believe it is true. Years from now your family will remember the trip where the RV didn’t work and it will trigger the memories of the fun times had on that trip as well. We still talk about a trip from 20 years ago when we had travel problems and the conversation always goes on to the funny and wonderful things we did as well. Hopefully you understand what I’m trying to say. It’s hard to explain.

    1. I get it, Kami. I hope it’s the case with our little ones but we never know. Thank you for sharing, fun to visit memory lane!

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