News has not exactly been great recently. And, I don’t know about you, but I welcome any good news that brightens my day in some way. For that reason, I loved a recent story a friend sent to me from the Charlotte Observer.
It is one thing to be involved in your community by hosting a blood drive or collecting holiday gifts for needy children (all worthwhile efforts, by the way) and quite another thing to go above and beyond these one-time or seasonal events.
What if someone needed a place to stay because they were homeless? Would you let them sleep inside your dealership at night? Let’s take it to the next level. Would you let them sleep inside a car that’s on your front line knowing that you may have customers looking at that and potentially wanting to buy it the next day? Probably not.
That, however, is exactly what one dealer has been doing since January. He now has over a dozen families that sleep in the cars on his lot nightly and expects that number to rise to 30 very quickly. The families arrive around 7:30 pm and leave by 7:30 am. Think about the quick work it must take for his staff to clean the cars every day to make sure that they are ready to show to a potential buyer. And they do this every… single… day. His community got wind of the news when he partnered with a local shelter to help, and locals have been donating food, supplies, and even a port-a-potty. The dealer also started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help get these families into stable homes.
While this certainly may not be for everyone, and perhaps not something you would do, I bring it up as it is so unusual and heartwarming. This act of kindness can only result in customer loyalty. Not only for those families he’s helped but also for members of the community. Could you imagine one of the families that he sheltered when they were down and out ever buying a car anyplace else once they are back on their feet? What about their families? And their family’s friends. And the local community that hears about his good deeds and joins in to help?
I’ve always believed that good deeds come back to you in the end. This dealer didn’t have to do any of this… but he did. This is community involvement to the extreme. My guess is that he would NEVER let any customer drive off his lot that wasn’t safe either.
And that’s just not being a business owner or a car dealer but being something even better… a human.