Never Judge a Shop by its Location

Schrader blog, TPMS BlogTraveling is a big part of my job. Not just in terms of the time that I spend traveling, but also all the places I get to see. I feel very privileged to do the work that I do and I am grateful for all the memories that it brings.  The people I get to meet thanks to my business travels create those amazing life experiences and today I want to share one of them with you.

I was in northern New Brunswick, Canada, where I got to spend some time with Robert, one of our partnered distributor’s. The plan was to visit some of his customers that day.

Robert: “There is one guy that I really want you to meet. He might not be the type of customer you are used to visiting, but I’m sure you’ll like him.”

Me: “Of course let’s go see him.”

Robert: “You’ll need to follow me closely, it’s a bit tricky to get there”

Me: “Can you give me the address and I’ll put that in my GPS?” Robert started to laugh.

Robert “There is no GPS where we’re going, so stick with me!” He said as he got into his car.

As I followed him, I couldn’t stop thinking about that line “There is no GPS where we’re going”. How can there be no GPS over there? Is it because it’s a new area of the city and the streets are not registered yet? But the more we drove, the more I understood what he actually meant! We drove and drove… and drove some more! First on the highway, then on the countryside, then a tiny paved street, then gravel, then dirt, then… there it was! A house in the middle of the woods! 

Me: “Where the hell did you bring me to?” I asked him.

Robert “See that old barn way over there? That’s where we’re going.“

I’ll be honest, I started to get a little worried.  After all, I just met Robert a few days ago and even though he seemed like a nice guy, this old barn seems a little too crooked and spooky for me. Not to mention that fact that I do not have cell phone service! We got inside through this old, rusted and squeaking wooden sliding door.

Me:Holy sh!!!!” I said with my eyes and mouth wide open.

Robert “Told ya you would like it!” He replied.

I had in front of me nothing less than the museum of old tools! Tools and tool boxes everywhere, more than anyone can use in a lifetime. It was nothing like you would expect from a barely standing old barn in the middle of nowhere: everything looked sharp, clean and shiny. Wall to wall, top to bottom of wrenches, ratchet, and sockets were nicely displayed in order by size. In one corner of the barn was the biggest socket I’ve ever seen, 5 1\4 encased on the side. Large and shiny tool boxes all lined up next to workbenches that were clean but clearly used!

Me:Is this a shop?

Robert “Yes, its Rodney’s little repair shop,” He said. “But it’s a little more than a shop for him” and he pointed me to look to my right-hand side.

There, at the back of the shop, was an impressive quantity of all kinds of old tools. A 5 or 6 feet tall wrench, old hand saws hanging on the wall and an old Chevy truck with rounded back fenders.

“RODNEY IT’S ME” Robert shouted. “He’s kind of old so you’ll need to speak up a little.”

And we heard in response: “Yep! Gimme a second” as Rodney crawled out from under a car. As he was coming our way, it was only then that I noticed 4 work bay’s fully equipped with lift’s and busy with cars on each of them. No joke, I was really in a shop.!

Rodney looked at me from behind his thick glasses.

Rodney: “So I guess you’re the TPMS guy.”

Me: “Yes sir, nice to meet you.”

Rodney: “Good, cause I have a few questions for you!”

We went through the questions he had, I even showed him some functionalities of the tools on cars that were in the shop.

Rodney: “So tell me, son. Can the UHF signal sent by the tool be interfered with other LF signal to a point where the signal programs a sensor to another vehicle?”

Me: “Hmm…” I just stood there trying to process the question…

Rodney chuckled: “You didn’t expect that kind of question from a 78-year-old pop, eh? “

At that moment, I remembered all the time’s I’ve heard people saying: “the older you get the harder it is to learn new things”. There it was, the living proof that age is just a number. I was there chatting with Rodney, 78 years old, with white hair and long white beard, about some pretty high tech aspects of tire pressure sensors.

Me: “While I’m here, I’ll check if your scan tool needs an update.”

As I was trying to connect my laptop to my cell phone, Rodney came closer.

Rodney: “Are you trying to get some internet?”

Me: “Yes but I can’t get any signal”

Rodney: “You won’t get that around here buddy. Don’t get me, wrong Son, I love all the stuff I buy from eBay and Amazon, but I prefer the woods. When I want to get some internet, I go to Timmies just down the street.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see Robert nodding to me that no signal was available here.

So I headed out with Robert to update Rodney’s scan tool at the local Tim Horton’s. “Just down the street,” he said. Well that “Just down the street” turned out to be a 45-minute drive. Unfortunately, I was running late for my flight back home, so I didn’t get the chance to go back and thank Rodney for this great experience!

I made a quick note in my agenda to call him back sometime in the following week. Much to my surprise, I had a voicemail from Rodney on my phone when I landed in Montreal later that day. I called him back right away and we chatted some more,.I guess Rodney is that kind of person who is so friendly that you just have no other choice but to keep in touch with them. He finished our call by saying:

Rodney: “Well thanks Son, all this (the information I gave him) is going to be very helpful for all my friends.”

Me: “Friends?”

Rodney: “At my age, you get to choose who you work for, and the clients I choose, I called them my friends, not customers.”

Thanks again Rodney for an amazing learning experience!