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It is popular these days to bash younger people. It is also easy these days – thanks to thousands of hot takes you can read on social media at any given hour – to form a mindset of quickly jumping to conclusions.
And then you meet a young man like I did today named Javier.
It occurred when I was bringing my car in for regular service at the Tysons Corner Mercedes dealership. I refer to it as my “annual hosing by Mercedes” because maintenance is not cheap and they generally find something that keeps the bill around $1,000. It comes with owning a Mercedes I’ve always thought. First world problem, just accept it and get it over with.
I’m new to the Tysons dealership, and certain things about it are unimpressive. I own three cars, with the other two being a Lexus and a Volkswagen, and the other two dealerships make waiting for maintenance as painless as possible. Lexus and Volkswagen provide coffee machines, snacks, fruit, ice cream, free wi-fi, several different televisions on different channels…all the things that can make time go by quicker.
Mercedes – one of the crown jewels of luxury brands – had a coffee machine. Period. They had areas for snacks, doughnuts, etc. but they were not stocked. The men’s bathroom was filthy. There was no wifi. The guy sitting next to me said Mercedes’ wifi was listed as Penske – why you’d use Penske when you have a brand name like Mercedes is beyond me – “but don’t bother,” he said. “It doesn’t work.”
A few minutes later I offered him the password to the hotspot on my phone so at least we both could access the internet with our laptops and get some work done. We also both noted somebody forgot to turn the air conditioning on and we both were waving off flies that seemed to have invaded the waiting room.
Hardly a “Mercedes” level environment. As a result, I was prepared to be disappointed with my day at the dealership.
On the positive side of things, I had been assigned as a service advisor a young man named Javier. He seemed to understand well that waiting around four hours for your car to be taken care of was no fun. He offered a loaner, but I said if they could get it done in 3 hours, I’d just wait. “My problem,” I told him, “is that most times when I say that, the service guy promises 3 hours and it still ends up being 5 or 6 hours. Just be realistic with me.”
He promised he would do what he could, and while it might be a few minutes past three hours, he could come fairly close. Fair enough, I said. I’ll wait.
Every hour he came and gave me an update. At two hours he said they were ahead of schedule and it was almost done, but that they had found another issue that would take another 45 minutes and a bunch of money to fix. Do it, I said. At least I know where we stand time-wise.
Roughly 45 minutes later, just as he promised, he was back in the waiting area. The car was done and they needed 20 minutes to wash it. This would mean the car would be done at 1 p.m. At a few minutes until 1, I gathered up all my electronics and went to go find my car.
But at 1 there was no car. There was no Javier either. Five minutes went by. Then another five. And after a third five, I went back to the lounge and sighed. “This isn’t turning into a great experience,” I thought, wondering how both my car and service adviser could go missing in action like that.
A few minutes later, Javier returned.
He was clearly sweating from some sort of exertion. “I’m sorry we’re a little late,” he said. Turns out he couldn’t get the crew responsible for washing the car to finish the job in the time frame he promised.
So, he informed me, he had left his desk and washed the car himself.
“That’s not really your job, is it?” I said to him. He just replied he had promised the car at a certain time, so he felt obligated to do whatever he could to deliver on that promise.
That’s very cool. In a time where you can go on Twitter at any time of the day and see people bashing somebody younger for not doing things the way us dinosaurs used to do it 40 years ago, here was a young man who decided he’d keep his word, even if he had to do it himself.
I was very impressed.
I told his boss on my way out that they needed to give Javier a raise for such effort. And I apologized for jumping to the conclusion that they overpromised and underdelivered. It was the opposite. I’m still impressed sitting here at home 8 hours later.
So Tysons Mercedes, get your act together. Fix the wi-fi. Upgrade your bathrooms to something higher than truck stop standards. It wouldn’t hurt you to actually fill those plastic trays that are for doughnuts and such to go with morning coffee. Do something about all those flies in the waiting room.
But don’t mess with Javier. He’s the reason I’ll be coming back.