Thursday, November 5, 2009

What we need more of in Kensington

Tire Spot 453 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY
(718) 940-7063 (Richie)

Ok, so yesterday my wife calls me at 2 o’clock in the afternoon from Kensington. The front right tire of the Nissan Quest is totally flat and she needs to pick up the kids from school in Bay Ridge at 2:30.

Well, forget about getting home in time from the City, and don't bother calling any one on the block. And that’s for a couple of reasons, number one most of them are moved away years ago, and number two, their parents who stayed behind are all quite old now. No, Bob Brennan's not going to be using that tire iron anymore, because his tire changing days are behind him now, and he's turning eighty in December.

So what’s the FIRST thing a man should do?

Call a local Tire place on Coney Island Avenue and see if they can come over to the driveway to fix it. That’s what.

And that’s when the story of “Tire Spot” starts.

“Hello, my wife is stuck with a flat tire in our driveway at 399 East Fourth, do you think you can send someone over to fix it?”

“Hey man, give me about ten minutes and I’ll drive over there”

“What’s your name?”

“Richie from Tire Spot, I’m the owner”

“Ok, Richie thanks, but my wife has only about fifteen minutes before she has to go to Bay Ridge to pick up the kids. Do you think you can get there in time?”

“I’ll do my best for you man, that’s all I can do”

So of course while my wife’s waiting for Richie from Tire Spot she calls me every few minutes to tell me he’s not there yet. And in the meantime the window is rapidly closing to make it to Bay Ridge in time to pick up my two kids.

So what’s the SECOND thing a man should do?

Well, tell his wife to call car service of course,
Because we live in Brooklyn and not Vermont.

So my wife calls Church Avenue car service and heads off to Bay Ridge with a round trip ticket in a blue Dodge Caravan. And me, well, I’m stuck at work worrying that Richie is going to show up there without anyone paying him or showing him where the van is.

So what’s the THIRD thing a man should do?

Well, call one of his tenants and ask him to find Richie, and show him where the van is and assure him that you’ll pay him for his work.

So luckily my middle floor tenant Jeff Nathan was home and his cordless phone worked well enough in my driveway.

‘Hello Richie, this is Ron I called you about the flat on the Quest”

“Yeah Man, don’t worry about it, I see the flat and the van too”

“Richie, you know my wife just left and she has the money for the job, I’m sorry but she had to pick up the kids”

“Hey Man, don’t worry about it, let me change the tire and take it to the shop and see if I can patch it”

“Do you need a charge card number or something?”

“Hey, don’t worry so much, when I’m finished with the job just come over later and pay me, I trust you man, don’t worry.

And that’s what struck me. Here’s a guy doing a job for me in my driveway totally out of trust and nothing else. He doesn’t know me from Adam and trusts that I’ll pay him after he does the job.
Which isn’t unusual, but he’s in my driveway rather than me being by his shop.

Ok, so let's sum this up here why don't we...

Richie drives over to my house in his truck,
changes my tire, takes the flat one to his shop,
fixes it, and then returns to take off the spare
and put back the tire he just fixed.

A couple hundred bucks I’m thinking, right?

Well, about an hour later Richie calls me at work to tell me
he finished the job and I’m thinking “service call” “hourly
rate”, etc, etc.

“Hey Ron that job will cost you forty dollars alright?”
“I’m sorry but it was a service call”

“Forty Dollars?”

This guy must have wasted a couple of hours on my van and the total bill is FORTY dollars.

“Richie, thank you, you are a saint”

Well, when I dropped off the money over by Tire Spot, I made sure to give Richie a nice tip. Because forty bucks for all that work just seems like nothing in the year 2009.

And when I was there paying my bill I made sure to tell some customers there about how Richie did all this work for me and trusted that I was going to show up later and pay him. A job done on “trust” and nothing else.

“Hey Man, if you want a customer to return those are the things you have to do you know” is all Richie said.

And let me tell you, until the day I die
I’m having Richie fix my flat tires.

Ron Lopez


MikeyPod said...

great story.

when I moved here from Houston three years ago I was prepared for the worst as far as customer service goes....well, from people in general, really.

nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, most people have little time for superficial niceties, but when it comes to solidly nice people being there for others, I am consistently pleased and surprised.

One of the many reasons I have grown to love Brooklyn. Thanks for writing about it.

Anonymous said...


I love this blog ! As an x brooklyn goaltender living in westchester now the things you share bring back so many awesome memories of my time growing up in brooklyn and playing roller hockey as a goaltender in the downtown area in the early 90's. Thank you for this story my parents are still living in brooklyn and i am trying to get them to use this guy. Thanks again !

Dave Appel

Anonymous said...

I can also vouch for these guys, I was visiting there three years ago and had my work van, well the tires were shit and I wasn't going on a three hundred mile trip on them, so my brother told me to go over there to this place, and so I did. They hooked me up right on the spot, great tires, great price, and real nice people,A-1. Will