This was going to be a short piece about me failing emissions and how it turned into a relaxing day working on the truck, but the more I thought about it, Casudi’s Ferrari 550 story seemed the better choice. At least, it was more inspiring.
We take pride in turning our own wrenches – and look down our noses at those who do not – but there comes a point in every gearhead’s life when we pay others to do the work for us. These are times we’re more concerned about fast and right than we are cheap. Walk out to strong fuel odors surrounding the $2500 Mitsubishi and maybe you take a minute to look around. Walk out to strong fuel odors around the $250,000 Ferrari, and maybe you call a professional.
My friend Casudi’s recent experience with a higher end roadside assistance provider prompted some deeper thinking. In a nutshell, she and partner James found their Ferrari reeking of fuel, contacted roadside assistance, and then had to all but handle the towing themselves, as roadside assistance kept sending out a shady, yet somehow “carefully vetted,” tow company. Though Casudi and James are friends, dare I say it, mentors, I couldn’t help but hear some childish imp deep in the primitive corners of my mind saying, “Don’t people who can afford Ferraris tend to get what they want in general?”
OPPORTUNITY 1: RECOGNIZE WHEN WE’RE FULL OF SHIT
The problem is, it’s easy for us to recognize in the lives of others those things we want for ourselves. This is how the seeds of envy take root. We see the rewards of effort, dedication, and foresight, but not the opportunity costs which lead there, making it easier to dismiss the troubles of others because they obviously have it so much easier than us. Granted, there are people in the world today who simply inherited their fortunes and profit from limiting competition and/or buying favor with politicians, but forget all that media-fueled crap for a minute and really think about this.
How much time do we spend thinking about what we have versus what we don’t? Are you at all concerned about where your next meal will come from? Where you’ll sleep? Will tomorrow’s weather affect either of those? The fact you’re reading this online means you’re doing better than a lot of people in the world. How do you feel about them? Those “first world problems” memes? They’re not supposed to be funny.
The human brain is perhaps infinitely powerful. Unfortunately, human nature is infinitely petty. Yeah, it’s easy to dismiss Ferrari and exotic owners for having their cars towed to dealerships for oil changes or 15-minute fuel line repairs, but recognize when you’re full of shit and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
You pay for roadside assistance. Instead of sending the reliable guy who gave you excellent service last time you needed a tow, they send some new company – and you catch the driver lying to you twice in two different phone calls. If you had a $250,000 Ferrari, would you want a guy who just lied to you taking your keys and car for a trip to the dealership you know he can’t possibly complete before they close? How about that $2500 Mitsubishi? Feel that? It’s called empathy, and it’s crazy good for you.
Empathy makes for a good transition, here. If you had a Ferrari, which one would it be? Would it be a relatively unique, front-engined, blue 550 like James’, here? Personally, my Ferrari tastes are more traditional and modest. Shall we say 308 GTS in red? Even if Magnum PI status is possible for less than 50 grand these days, I know I’d be a lot more selective about who touched my f*cking Ferrari than I would, say, my trusty Rocinante, whom has actually seen three flatbed tows in a single weekend. I’d only want people I trusted touching El Rosso. (That’s right, my imaginary Ferrari has a name, too. Bite me.)
OPPORTUNITY 2: DO YOUR BEST & KEEP YOUR PROMISES
Let’s dust off the old Golden Rule, here. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. So why is it getting so hard to find people and businesses treating others the same way they want to be treated themselves? I’ll spare you my deeper, socio- psychological theory on the word consumer and how it serves to insulate us from realizing we are all equal in a certain regard, suffice to say a really simple – and kick ass – way to stand out from the crowd is to do your best and keep your promises.
When Casudi and James purchased roadside assistance, they were promised what any of us would expect from such a service. When you need help, you make a phone call, and a trustworthy professional shows up to handle the rest. After a considerable amount of phone tag and Twitter comments, they finally got the towing company they’d requested in the first place confirmed and the 550 made it to the dealership without any further problems. That is, until the towing company called Casudi to advise roadside assistance refused to pay them afterwards, meaning more phone calls to get it all sorted.
The big promise, here, is “You call us and we’ll take care of it for you.” If I’m going to have to research reputable towing companies online, coordinate boat schedules (Casudi and James live on an island), make sure the dealership will be open to accept the car, then deal with multiple corporate-types just to get the driver paid, and spend the better part of two days on this, why am I paying for roadside assistance, again?
If you consistently deliver excellent results and keep your word – explicitly and implicitly – you set yourself apart from the rest of the herd. This can work for you in two ways. First, you become first choice for the important and/or more profitable opportunities, and second, if there’s one thing the rest of the herd likes, it’s being made to feel important. Make others feel special and they will consider you special. And if you genuinely care about delivering better, truly believe others are special, and seek to make a remarkable difference in their lives, you can supercharge this effect.
MORE INSPIRING THAN WORKING ON MY TRUCK
When I clicked “New Post” on the back end the other day, I thought I would be talking more about the simple pleasures of self-sufficiency. You know, when you find yourself working under the hood on something that isn’t overly dirty or difficult, on a really nice afternoon, where you’re finished before you get tired or hungry, and the machine clearly runs a little bit better as a result.
Cleaning up vacuum lines and 25 year old wiring isn’t particularly glamorous, but it brings a sense of order to the engine bay and helps you better understand how the various sensors and solenoids work together – and the engine might run better for it. It’s one of those situations where the problem appears more complicated and stressful on the surface than it really is. The opposite is when the problem is so simple it doesn’t even resemble a problem, until we count on to assist with quality service don’t live up to their promises.
Fortunately for Casudi and James, everything ended on a positive note. Most importantly, the Ferrari made it safely to the dealer for whatever service was required, and Casudi – who drives an Audi R8 – tells me this “well-depreciated” machine is going to a new home after this service, so someone’s getting a freshly serviced 550. On top of that, their roadside assistance provider has expressed interest in working with them to ensure this sort of thing never happens to anyone else again. Not bad.
If you’d like the full story, visit Casudi’s site: Hagerty – Are You Listening?