July 2022

Community Kindness

Editor's Note

By Brad kAva

You want to make America great again? How about focusing on kindness?
I know, it sounds hippy dippy cliché, but when people put aside business as usual and do great things for each other the world really becomes a better place.

It happened to me last week.
My engine lights were flashing and the warning signals looked like a missile was pointed at the Starship Enterprise. “Oil pressure low,” it blared.

Luckily, I was near the Valvoline in Watsonville, by Target. I coasted in, thinking I just needed an oil change, but no, the oil had all leaked out and even a mechanical dolt like me knows that’s really bad.

I knew most of those places just change the oil and don’t fix things. I figured I’d have to get a tow truck, find a mechanic, rent a car and wait to have my elderly vehicle fixed. That’s a day and a lot of dollars shot.

But the Valvoline manager, Tanner Farley, said he would fix the problem, which was a hole in a hose.

“We don’t usually do this,” he said, “but I take great pride in our work.”
So he sent an assistant manager to three stores to find the right hose, with no luck. Finally, he patched the hose, got the car running and told me if I can find the right hose somewhere, he’d install that too.

When I went to pay him, he said, “No, you were here an hour and that’s too long. We can’t charge you for the oil change.”

I wanted to pay, it was the least I could do, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Then, I tried the old New York technique. I had $100 in my wallet and I tried to hand it to him. “Please take this,” I said. “You saved me so much time and money.”
He adamantly refused. He wouldn’t hear of it. “Just write us a good review somewhere,” he said.

I shook my head. This was like a fairy tale. I can’t remember the last time someone was this nice in real life. And these are tough times, when every dollar counts and everyone seems to reflect the quote attributed to Calvin Coolidge, that “the business of America is business.”

He made my day. No, he made my week or more. He reminded me just how important kindness is, even when we are all struggling.
Do you have a story of a local business or person doing something above and beyond for you? Please send it to e[email protected] we’ll print it and let’s celebrate the kindness people have shown.

Speaking of great things, this month we feature our first Family Favorites, the businesses you have nominated and voted for as the best in Santa Cruz. We weren’t sure how it would go, being the first time, but it’s been amazing. We got hundreds of votes and readers were passionate about sharing their favorite things in Santa Cruz with others.

We’ll make this a regular feature, so keep your favorites in mind for next year.

Thanks for reading,
Brad Kava

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