Quantcast
Jump to content


Recommended Posts

The Janitor

 

Granted I don’t wear my finest clothes to work, and I wouldn’t think a three piece suit would be a good choice. I wear what’s appropriate, old jeans, a washed out company shirt, and a work bib loaded down with hand tools. The bib I buy off the tool trucks from time to time and as I wear the old one out I’ll replace it. The bib allows me to carry all the daily essentials that I need most often. After awhile, the old bib gets pretty ragged looking and the old shirt starts to show major fatigue. My wife keeps threatening me that she is going to toss some of my shirts and buy new ones. That hasn’t happen yet, but I’m sure it will someday.

 

As you can tell, my appearance is (at times) pretty ragged and probably would make anyone who didn’t know me quite suspicious of whom or what my purpose was at the shop. But that said, what I am, is a mechanic, and a pretty good one. In the mean time, I don’t want to have to be putting on “airs” for somebody just because they don’t like the way I’m dressed… to bad… this is what ya get.

 

One evening … late evening… I was the last one at the shop and I was heading home. I turned on the alarm and headed out the door. My usual ride home is my ever faithful old truck…. Gerdie…. She’s an old truck, a good one though. It’s an 84 Toyota 4X4, runs fantastic, stops on a dime, and looks like hell. I’d drive it to the coast and back and wouldn’t worry about a thing. I think of it as a show piece…. A 25 year old truck that runs like new… hey, we should all have one… why it’s probably due to the expert care she is given. Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with maintaining a maintenance schedule, and not “over-driving” the vehicle through conditions that would over work the designed capabilities from the manufacturer. I’ve owned this truck since it was new, I’ve serviced everything and anything it’s needed over the years. But back to the story….. I wanted to go home, but old Gerdie had other plans… seems the clutch master cylinder needed a bit of fluid. So I went back … unlocked the door and turned off the alarm… Grabbed a bottle of brake fluid and filled her back up for the trip home. In a bit of a hurry I spilled some of the fluid. I ran back in and grabbed a broom and some oil dry. It was about then that a car pulled up to the shop and a guy came into the office. Me, I was still outside, in fact I still had the keys hanging in the door. Why I even had forgotten to take off my old bib still full of tools.

 

Once I had filled the master cylinder back up I went back into the office.

 

“Anything I can do for you,” I asked.

 

“Yes, is there someone here that can help me with my car,” He answered.

 

“Sure, I can”

 

“But you’re the janitor… I need to talk to a mechanic”

 

Now, I realize that the lights are all off, the place is quiet and I’m standing there holding a half gallon jug of brake fluid, some oil dry and a broom….. I guess, you might assume that I’m the janitor… now wouldn’t you…

 

Well, he did…

 

“Well, sometimes I’m the janitor; then again, I’m also the complaint department, the head mechanic, and the bill payer around here. What ya need slick,” I said.

 

“My headlights aren’t working, the repair shop down the street said this was the place to get it fixed at. They said the connector is melted and there were no replacement parts,” he answered.

 

“Sure, no problem, can you drop it off tonight and I’ll get a look at it in the morning,” I asked.

 

“Well, ok, if you think you can fix it, I don’t want to leave it with just the janitor you know,” he hesitantly answered.

 

“Don’t worry, in the morning I’ll put my broom away and grab my test light.”

 

“Oh, OK, I’ll leave it with you… if that’s ok.”

 

I took down his information and the next day I made the repair without much of a problem. I didn’t call the customer, Mandy did and she didn’t have a problem with this guy, he was a typical nice guy customer. When he came to pick it up though, he asked Mandy if it would be alright if he thanked that nice janitor for taken his car in after hours last night. That’s about the time I came in from the shop, wearing my same bib of tools I had on the night before.

 

The new customer took one look at me, and said, “Oh, could you tell the mechanic that worked on my car that I would like to thank him personally?”

 

“Ya just did,” I said.

 

“Ah, sure, ah that’s nice, but do tell him that he did a great job, oh, and by the way, you’re doing a fine job of keeping this place cleaned up… wonderful work your doing,” he proudly said. He turns to Mandy, “I’m glad you folks have such a nice man on your staff, he’s doing a fine job.”

 

I didn’t have the heart to say anymore about the whole thing. I figure since this guy thinks I’m such a damned good janitor I might as well live up to it… I’ll just keep sweeping up around here.

 

Sooner or later I’ll learn a thing or two about fixing cars. But it is kind of nice being the janitor… heck; people don’t try to ask all those car questions to ya… I’m just the janitor you know. Makes me wonder how many “janitors” are really rocket scientists or something. It’s amazing to me how differently people think of you when you’re not the “guy”. Even though this incredibly thoughtful customer was only trying to thank me… the mechanic, I felt really honored to be thanked as the … janitor. Oh, and for all those rocket scientists turned janitors out there in the world… Don’t worry your secret is safe with me.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Forum Topics

    • [Brand Choice] Automotive Oil Filters

      Oil filters are one of those important parts categories that every shop usually stocks, to turn bays faster and offer an oil change service as a way to capture needed maintenance and repairs.  What is your preferred brand of oil filters and why? Are you stocking oil filters in your shop? How do you keep your inventory stocked and updated if you do? Who is your oil filter supplier and why? Are you using a standard or premium oil filter on average? If you service trucks, are you using Heavy Duty filters; Baldwin, Fleetguard, Luberfiner, etc.?

      By Alex, in Automotive Products & Services

        
      • 1 reply
      • 291 views
    • [Brand Choice] Automotive Batteries

      Automotive Batteries What is your preferred brand of automotive batteries and why? Who is the supplier of that brand to you? What are the battery series that are available in that brand, and what are the warranties? Who manufactures your choice of battery?

      By Alex, in Automotive Products & Services

        
      • 19 replies
      • 2,082 views
    • Opinions on my work hours

      Hi, everyone   I just opened an auto repair shop about 4 months ago, but I'm still working my full time job as a tech therefore I open the shop from 4 pm until 9pm M-F and 8-5 on Saturday. I'm starting to build customers but most are from referrals and neighbors I don't get much traffic cars. I'm starting to think that the hours I'm open don't really work for the auto repair business seems like after 6 everything dies. Has anyone worked this kind of hours or what do you guys think about this odd hours.

      By Zs Automotive, in Workflow Management

      • 20 replies
      • 1,718 views
    • What tools have made a positive impact in your shop?

      Hi there!

      My name is Kiley and I write for "The Return" in Ratchet+Wrench magazine. (For those unfamiliar, 'The Return' is more of a personalized review that gives readers the chance to learn about how a product works inside a shop that uses it as well as the shop's review of the product.) 

      My question to you all today is this: what tool has made an impact in your shop? If someone was looking for a product to add to their shop, what would you recommend?  (This can range from shop floor tools, security systems, management systems, payroll, etc.)  Thank you so much and have a great day! 

      By ratchetandwrench, in Automotive Shop Tools & Equipment

      • 4 replies
      • 496 views
    • Article: The Ghost Mechanic - those mechanics that seem to leave evidence of their bad work that you find... or was it a mechanic after all?

      The Ghost Mechanic          Creepier things have happened, but rarely do things go without an explanation.  This time around it’s the mystery mechanic who seems to have been working on this guy’s car, or maybe not.  Maybe it’s that ghostly mechanic who haunts people’s cars on quiet neighborhood streets in the middle of the night. You know, that guy who leaves nothing but telltale greasy finger prints or unattached wire harnesses, or even loose bolts where loose bolts shouldn’t be. This job was no exception to the antics of the invisible mechanic’s handy work. It’s a mystery worth solving.          A Chevy HHR was towed in for a no start condition.  It wasn’t exactly a no start; it was more like a poor starting/running condition. When it would run, the poor thing sounded like it was on its last trip to the garage and its first trip to the salvage yard.  Trying to beat it to its last ride on the tow truck, I hooked up the scanner to see what inner mysteries were present.  Code P1682 (Ignition 1 switch circuit 2), but I wasn’t done yet. Time to do a complete health check on all the modules.  Sure enough, the ‘U’ codes were off the charts.  Seems we have a lot of low voltage codes causing a problem.           A quick check of the wiring diagram showed the power led to a voltage input lead for the PCM, TCM, and several other circuits that would definitely lead to a rough, hard to start, non-cooperating HHR. This may turn out to be a simple problem after all.  Could be wiring, a component, or perhaps a fuse box problem.  A quick glance at the fuse box didn’t reveal much, but I should probably take a closer look at that fuse box.  Maybe go as far as physically checking the actual fuse circuit.  Hmm, something is amiss here. The fuse is good, but the fuse is in the wrong slot. The slot that it’s in should be an empty slot. Seems somebody was fooling around under the hood and didn’t put the fuse back correctly.             Might as well try moving the fuse back to the proper location.  Well, imagine that, this old HHR starts right up!  OK, it’s not running the best . . . yet.  Do a little throttle relearn and it runs as good as new.          After rechecking the related circuits for any damage, or out of place items I gave the HHR the once around the block test.  Runs great, sounds great, no warning lights, no unusual noises, seems fine to me.  I guess I’ll write up an invoice on this job and call the customer.  As I closed the hood, the telltale greasy hand prints from the last guy who was under the hood were everywhere.  I think I spent as much time cleaning this guy’s hood as I spent diagnosing the problem. I gave him a call and explained to him, as best I could, what I had found. Although, I did have that one nagging question regarding who had worked on the car previously. I really wanted an answer to that question.   "NOBODY" … are you serious?  That’s when I explained the entire repair all over again.  Between the greasy finger marks on the hood and fenders, and the fuse in the wrong place, I’m afraid I’m not going to buy the story that the mysterious ghost mechanic has struck again. His only explanation came down to the whole thing must have been a poltergeist or something. Or ‘someone’ not ‘something’ is a better way to put it.  I’m not buying the ghost mechanic theory. At this point, he seemed to be more intent on finding out the final bill, and not so much on solving the mystery of how the fuse mysteriously moved into a different slot. But, before I gave him the total, I recommended he perform an exorcism on his car, since ‘NOBODY’ has been touching it.  His response, "How much more will that cost me?” Seriously? Now, I’ve been asked to do all sorts of things to a car, like put a helicopter landing pad on the roof, remove a varmint from behind the dash, or turn a Prius into a tow truck, but I don’t think I’ve ever been explicitly asked to do an exorcism on the family truckster.  Actually, I’m starting to put this whole thing together.  The mystery mechanic is none other than this guy himself.  His answers to certain questions, and how he told his story were a dead giveaway as to who the ghost mechanic was. I swear some people just can’t be honest and admit when they’re beyond their learning curve.  We both might have had a good laugh over the whole thing, but instead this guy wants me to drop the price in half, since it was such an ‘easy’ repair and all, and ignore the whereabouts of this seemingly ghostly apparition with the mindless ability to screw up the family car. But, since this guy wouldn’t own up to it, even with the evidence of his very own greasy paw prints, he’s in for a lesson of honesty, awareness of his own abilities, and how to pay for a professional diagnosis. It’s just another case of the mechanic solving the mystery of the proverbial ghost mechanic.  Debunking wives’A tales about the modern automobile, supernatural occurrences under the hood, and apparitions that seem to move fuses around is just another duty of the modern mechanic. Oh, and don’t think you’re the first person who’s tried the ghost mechanic as your method of passing the blame… you’re not.  Every good mechanic has performed their fair share of exorcisms in the past and have seen the results of the mystery mechanic and his endeavors.  We know who you really are.
      View full article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 2 replies
      • 301 views
  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×