The definition of professional: A person who arrives at your home in a very expensive truck or van bearing the name of a company.
For example: AAA Master Plumber of Alabama, Jay Byrd’s Appliance Repair, or Mr Honest Bubba, born and raised in same city.
The story began early in the morning, before I had time for coffee. By the way, the names in this article have been changed to protect the guilty.
The phone rang, my daughter sounded frantic, ‘’Mom! We do not have any hot water!The man from the gas company will not turn on the hot water heater. He has placed a red tag on it!”
Well, being the type person who gets at least two quotes for a job, I arrived at my daughter’s house and started my coffee. Within fifteen minutes I had scheduled two free estimates and staggered the times they would arrive. In the meantime I called the gas company and got their quote of $475.02 for a new hot water heater and installation. With only $2.01 in my checking account, I began to worry.
The first repairman arrived as I prepared my first cup of coffee. I was aware of the new van he was driving with fancy lettering on the side. He was wearing a shirt that had his name, Bill, on it. He seemed sympathetic to my plight as I told him of my financial concern. “I can save you $25.00 on a new hot water heater. It does need to be replaced.” I walk him to the door, holding my hot cup of coffee and told him I may call him.
The second repairman arrived, He is driving an older truck which has a metallic sign: Home Owned and Operated. Mr. Honest Bubba. After looking closely at the hot water heater, he takes off his hat and holds it near his heart and says, “Mam, I can replace it with a used hot water heater, guaranteed to last -90 days. I can save you $124.07 if I install it today.”
Then something happened I can’t explain, a light seemed to have turned on in my head, perhaps my mind was alert from the 3rd cup of coffee. “Sir,” I asked hastily, “Do you mind telling me why this one is not working?”
He looked at me, paused in disbelief and rolled his eyes up to the ceiling before making eye contact with me. “Mam, this little red button won’t pop up after I hold it down to light the water heater.” He demonstrated as he spoke and sure enough the button appeared to be stuck.
Quickly, I led him to the door telling him I would call him if I needed him.
I was so excited! “Yes! Yes! Yes! Only a stuck button!.” I ran to my kitchen cabinet and began looking for the cooking spray. I felt jubilant. I felt SMART! I took the spray and with confidence, I let that little red button have it! Then I pushed it up and down! It popped back up. My plan had worked!
I called the gas company, and asked them to come back and remove the red tag. They did so and lit the hot water heater. The tecnician did not ask me any questions, but I, Ms. Frugal still had $2.01 in my checking account and about 199 sprays of cooking oil left over. So filled with confidence, I invited the nice man to have a fresh cup of coffee. He scratched his head, looked at me strangely, sat down, and asked me if that was the same hot water heater.
Smiling, I explained to him that there are several ways to skin a rabbit (I wouldn’t skin a cat). I told him that what I had learned that day had given me a boost of confidence and feeling victorious because I realized that it’s ok to question a professional.