I love my mechanic.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing romantic about our relationship. But if you, he, and I were in a lifeboat with only room for two people, I’d hang on tight if I were you.

Why? Because he is always there for me. I mean always. Like the time my car wouldn’t start because I left the door ajar and the battery died; he made a house call the same day to jumpstart it. Or the times—more than once—when my car died far from home and he drove several hours to tow it back and fix it. And, as of this very moment, he’s fixing a car of ours that others had pronounced Dead on Arrival. I’ve called this guy countless times simply to ask his advice about vehicles.

It’s not a one-way street, of course. Over the years, I have probably spent many thousands of dollars at his garage, and have bought most of my cars from him. I have joked that I helped send his son through college; it’s probably not a joke.

But he’s honest, and I know he’ll never overcharge me for service work. When I buy a car from him, I know he’ll stand behind it. The few times one of those cars had problems, he took care of it at no or reduced cost, even if the car was past the usual 60 or 90-day warranty period. 

Why does he do it? Probably because I’m a good customer and he wants to keep me coming back. I can’t count the number of times I have recommended him to friends. It’s a small community. He probably knows his competitors personally and knows how people talk. He’s a smart man, and he knows the value of customer service that goes above and beyond. In the words of an old saying, slightly paraphrased: Keep your friends close. And your customers closer.