"Can I help you?" he asks, less than enthusiastically, and truth be told, less than willingly.
"Yes," I reply. "Are you busy?" (No points for imitation busy, mister.)
"Well. Yes. Sort of. Can you make it quick?" he semi-barks, while he reluctantly puts away his store phone (aka female customer avoidance device.)
If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I buy lots of stuff and services at Lowe's. (And Lowe's if you track blogs, contact me and I can give you an ear full on your less than helpful/courteous/informed employees.) I left the store with my purchases, carefully saving the receipt because I'm not convinced the choice of merchandise I made was a good one. Partly because my helper was eager to get back to his faux phone calls.
I leave and head out for another errand, when I notice that I am pretty irritated. And I am hot. In the physical sense. Seems my car's air conditioner has conked out. Kaput. Finished.
I had the car in with my favorite mechanic that morning and he had replaced some kind of pump. I'm not sure if the new part is anywhere in the neighborhood of the air conditioning. But I know it was working when I handed the keys over to Chuck. (Yes, we are on a first name basis. I can do many things, but car repair is not and never will be among them. Amen.)
I frantically called him and he told me to bring it in first thing this morning. I am amazed at how quickly my thoughts turned to just how bad this could be. Texas in the summer requires an air conditioner; there is no other option save moving to Canada. I thought of having to buy another car. Of the sweet lady who is fighting cancer that I want to take out for dinner. She can't ride in a steaming hot car. Of how grumpy I get when I am hot and sweaty. Drat.
I took the car in today and Chuck immediately began looking it over. I sat in the waiting room and prayed, wondering if God really would reach down from heaven and fix my car's a/c. Or guide Chuck to the easy fix.
Moments later, he strolled in. "All finished," he proudly proclaimed. Seems there is a button that must be pushed for the air conditioning to produce cold air. It must have been inadvertently pushed yesterday during the repair. Or my flayling after my Lowe's visit. And then, the second miracle: no charge.
Chuck: you are my hero. You could have sold me a new a/c unit, and I'd have found the money to pay for it. I've lived through far too many Texas summers to know it can't be done without the cooling. And I'd have eaten beans and rice for a year if necessary.
I took Chuck and his guys the finest homemade cookies HEB (our local grocery) could produce. I'm thankful for his honest, integrity and customer service. The Lowe's guy? Putting him on hold for a while.