A Tale of Three Mechanics
Picture if you will, three mechanics. Each one has an opportunity just like most people and businesses, to garner good will in the community. These mechanics are all located in Broward County, FL; and all have the opportunity to do business in a way that makes a difference.
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This is a Christian that was referred often by his son, one of the pastors at my former church. This mechanic was alleged to help single moms, and many were sent to him, me included.
When I took my previous car to him it was overheating. I sat and waited for several hours until it was fixed. The first time he fixed it, he didn’t charge me. However, I had to bring it back several weeks later for a related problem. I paid a bit over $200 for this repair, yet again, several weeks later; I was back with “another” related problem.
These repairs for problems “related” to the car overheating, continued for several months. In fact, it seemed I was back at his shop every other month or so because there was another problem that was related to this overheating issue. Each visit was at a cost of about $200, give or take a bit. The water pump had been replaced, yet nothing really changed.
Eventually, the mechanic told me that he could find no reason for the car overheating. He claimed he had checked everything diagnostically, and when he disconnected the thermostat, the car ran fine and didn’t overheat. I asked, “But don’t I need the thermostat? How will I know if the car is overheating or not?”
His response was, “Oh, it’ll be alright. You don’t really need that anyways. Just go with it for a few weeks and we’ll watch it and see what happens.”
So he left the thermostat disconnected, as if the malfunction was the thermostat. I drove down the street, and the car started steaming, and radiator fluid was shooting out from under the car. I turned around and immediately went back. Turns out, the largest hose had a huge hole in it. Wonder how he missed that?
Meanwhile, I started thinking, “How much does it cost to replace a thermostat?” because I was sure that the car needed its temperature gage, to monitor the temperature. My thought pattern was, if it was built into the car, it must be a necessity, otherwise, why would the engineers put it there? When I asked him about it, he said it costs too much to fix that.
But think about it. It’s just like our bodies. Even if something is malfunctioning, the issue is not ‘cut it out.’ The issue is, find out what is causing the malfunction. Why is it breaking down? Obviously, the part wouldn’t be in our body if it wasn’t a necessity. God is far wiser than to just throw a bunch of unnecessary parts in there for eye candy.
I’m sure the engineers at these car manufacturing companies are at least similar in their thinking. They aren’t going to waste the company’s money throwing in additional, non-functioning parts that aren’t a necessity for the efficient running of that car’s engine.
With this in mind, I called Advance Auto Parts a few days later, to get the price of a thermostat, because I’m thinking that this part is really a necessity, and I wanted to see if I could afford the part so it could be replaced.
Do you know that a thermostat only costs $4 and some change?! I was stunned. Then it dawned on me. As long as the car continued to overheat, I would have to bring it back, paying $200 plus each time. I had been doing this for almost a year. So you know I was getting hot, right? I was trying to be Christian about it, and not go off, but I was also getting hot, because I saw the game.
Sure enough, the car overheated again. This time when I went back, he had a new mechanic working in his shop. This new mechanic was the one taking care of my car. After he fixed it, he took me outside to explain the problem.
The problem this time was that the radiator fan had burnt out. It was so badly burnt, that his mechanic showed it to me and told me, “I’ve never seen a fan this burnt up before. There should have been something in the car to warn you that this was happening.” Imagine.
I’m sure you all know I wasn’t happy about this. I was already feeling like I was being taken advantage of. I then emphatically explained to his mechanic that I had told the owner this when he had unplugged my thermostat, but that he claimed it was not necessary.
His own mechanic told me that it was indeed necessary, and reconnected the thermostat. At that point, the owner had overheard my displeased statement, so when I paid him, he told me that he didn’t want me to bring my car to him anymore. Trust me; I had already made that decision.
Another Christian mechanic from my former church, who was reputed to be a good guy, and was well liked. Most people I mentioned this guy to, knew him. He had his motto, a particular scripture, on a banner over his counter.
He often talked about this motto, on dealing fairly and justly because of a biblical mandate. I agreed with this, and we had had an interesting discussion on some scriptural topics.
Again, I was referred to this man, this time, from the church’s benevolence dept. At the time I was sent there, I had told benevolence that the undercarriage of my car, the struts and CV joints etc; needed to be replaced, and my tires were bald.
They sent me to his shop, and he had one of his guys look at my car. Being that I had no money for these repairs, and the church was helping with this, he determined that I didn’t need the undercarriage parts replaced at all.
Mind you, I had already been told this was the problem by another mechanic – one I trusted. I just couldn’t afford the repair. Additionally, the car makes a loud crunching sort of groaning sound whenever a left turn, or sharp turn is made.
There were signs that this was indeed the problem, but because of the cost of those parts, and the kit that was needed to fix that problem, and the fact that this mechanic sold tires; what he told the church, was that my car needed 4 new tires, and one small part replaced.
The church authorized the repair, and told me I was responsible for half of it, yet, I was never given any say so over what was repaired. It wasn’t even discussed with me.
Later, I felt like it would have been better to give me 4 good used tires, and repair the real problem. Nevertheless, this is what happened, and I tried not to seem ungrateful. So I never said anything about it, but that is a big part of the problem. We act like because it was (allegedly) a christian, we're just supposed to keep it all hush-hush...on the down low, and there is some secret rule that dictates that we don't talk about it. I played the same game; I just thanked the mechanic and left. The problem is, if we don't bring these things to light within our own culture, how will anything or anyone ever change?
I was attempting to get the money for my half, but it took some time, considering my unemployment; and later, when I went to explain to the mechanic, he told me not to worry about it. His ministry fund took care of it. Nevertheless, I offered to help him on a personal matter that touched my heart, with the skills and training I already have. I gave this assistance for about a month before politics got in the way, and I could no longer help.
Yet, even while I was helping him, I was having some problems with the same undercarriage issue and my brakes. He told me to bring the car back in and he’d take care of it for me. At that point, he had already told me of the cash flow issues he was having in his business.
What I saw was a man that was always in a rush. He sometimes barely had time to acknowledge someone walking into his establishment. His intention was good. His intention was to help, but it seemed that he was trying to do more repairs than his shop could really handle. So the quality of his shop’s work became questionable, and later, others that I asked cited that lack of quality as the reason they preferred to find another mechanic; despite liking him personally.
He saw the problem with my car, and in spite of telling me he’d “take care of it,” he hurriedly told his mechanic to just tighten it up, and give it back to me, saying to drive it and see how it is. If there’s still a problem, “we’ll address it and see what we can do,” but this was said in exasperation, as if he felt forced to do it either out of guilt, or because I was helping him with the personal issue.
The moment I began to drive it, the same loud screeching noise began again, like the car had not even been looked at. I had just turned around in his parking lot, and he was behind me, and heard it, but when I said, “It’s still doing the same thing,” he just hurriedly waved and said, “Just drive it for a while, and let’s see what happens,” as if it was going to fix itself while I drove.
I drove away, knowing that he really didn’t want to be bothered with it. He had too many other things to deal with, and had just said he’d address it because of what I was doing for him. I didn’t bother to take it back.
It was word of mouth that led me to this mechanic, who was first found this way by my mother. She sent me to him, and I haven’t been dissatisfied one time since.
This mechanic is not Christian. He’s a Buddhist. I know of Christians who say that they don’t feel comfortable taking their car to him, just because he doesn’t believe what we believe.
Personally, I find that ridiculous. First of all, why miss an opportunity to point someone to Christ? This is a sad statement about our faith, if people are acting like this. Additionally, the sadder statement was already made by the previous two mechanics’ actions. What’s really pitiful is when people of faith, don’t act in good faith. It tarnishes the reputation of Christianity, and does not reflect God’s glory. Your business or organization can’t be blessed like that.
Secondly, why discriminate against him if he is an honest business man. Why not give him the business? How hard is it to find an honest mechanic?
This is just as bad as discriminating against someone because they are gay. If I was that foolish, I would never have been in position to receive the blessing of my car, which was valued at 5k and sold to me for about $600 by a gay friend of mine. God used her to bless me.
This mechanic, Singh, has helped me numerous times. He knows I’m a single mom, and that I have been struggling due to unemployment. Understand that I have paid him for work, but there have been times that I didn’t have the money.
If he is able to help me, he does so, but if he can’t, he’s honest about it. He has never made me feel like he felt guilt or obligation to help while having secret resentment.
Let me tell you how he’s helped me. First of all, he was willing to put a battery in my girlfriend’s car at no charge. He’s fixed the ball bearings in the casing that the belt in my car revolved around; some of which had fallen out and been lost. He fixed this at no charge; and this was the problem causing the screeching sound that mechanic #2 missed.
Two years ago, when my brakes were shot, and I was driving metal on metal on dangerously paper thin rotors that could snap at any time; I had no money to fix this. I slowly drove my car home after telling him that all I could do was just drive slowly and try to be careful.
After I obediently went to the church’s benevolence dept. at God’s prompting, and prayed about how this issue would be resolved, I was confident even prior to going that God had this, and it was already done.
What I didn’t know, was that my mechanic was so worried about me driving with those brakes, that he spoke to my brother himself, and offered to do the entire repair without charging labor, if my brother would buy the parts.
My brother, who I had not told about the situation, agreed. I had not told anyone in my family, as I did not want to burden them with my situation. Nevertheless, my mechanic acted more like family and called them for me.
Again, recently, the situation with my brakes has come up again. Once again, this mechanic said, “I know you are struggling, so if you can get the parts, I’ll do it for you, and you can give me whatever you want for the labor. You don’t even have to give me anything if you don’t want to. I’m not worried about it.” This is because he knows that if he gives, he will receive in turn, and it will come back to him.
This mechanic happens to be an electrical expert. He has two different types of diagnostic machines, and tends to catch problems other mechanics miss. For instance, I had a problem a year or so ago with my engine coughing and sputtering.
Having limited funds, I went to a street mechanic who worked on the car, claiming to have fixed the issue with a new part that wasn’t too expensive. The car was still sputtering, so a friend of mine had me drive her to another mechanic where her car was being repaired. She suggested that he knew his stuff, and that I should have him look at it.
He claimed that the wires for this new part had been connected backwards and that this was why it was still sputtering. They redid this wiring, and never charged me, but again, it still wasn’t working right, and still coughed and sputtered as I accelerated.
My friend’s mechanic also referred me to a shop that specialized in exhaust systems, claiming that this was part of the problem. The guy at the exhaust shop told me that my carburetor needed to be replaced quoting almost $800 to do that job, and that this is what the cause of the problem was.
At that point, I took it to my guy, Singh. He checked it with his special diagnostic meter, and immediately knew the problem. He fixed it in 5 minutes, explaining to me that it was an electrical problem that a regular mechanic would not know about. It had nothing to do with the exhaust, and all the stuff the previous guys had told me it was connected to. The problem was so minor that again, Singh never even charged me for it.
For me, this sounds like the story of the Good Samaritan. The first two mechanics were of the same cultural disposition-the same Christian belief system as I am. One would have expected them to deal fairly and more charitably with me as a fellow Christian, but they did not; yet the one who was outside of our cultural system of belief did.
In my opinion, this is the best mechanic in the Broward County, Ft. Lauderdale area. His shop is called Singh Automotive, and he is located in the plaza directly behind Bennett Auto Supply at 5310 N. State Rd 7, in Tamarac, FL 33319. His phone number is 754-368-7096. If you live in the county, this is the guy to see for car repairs. If you go to him, make sure to mention that you heard about him from this article.