Friday, February 1, 2013

Mr. Flores Makes It Happen

Used car salesmen: You just don’t hear too many positive things about them, however, there is one in particular that I will never forget.

Let’s go back to the year, 1998. I was driving a green Ford station wagon that seemed to start to fall apart around the same time as my first marriage. I clearly remember signing papers with our realtor to start the proceedings to sell our house with the ex-husband. From one of the large windows of the building, I noticed clouds of smoke coming out of the hood of the station wagon, with my two kids still inside. I left the building as soon as I could, to see what was the problem. The realtor, followed quickly behind me, and kindly put water in my engine, and advised me to see a mechanic. The ex, who apparently wanted nothing to do with the problem, left quickly in his truck.
From that moment on, for the next two years, I was taking that station wagon to various mechanics, until finally, one of them told me that it was leaking oil, and it would continue to leak oil, and it would never be permanently fixed, and that I should just go to a dealership and “get rid of it.”
So, with my two kids in tow, that is what I did. I drove over in my leaking station wagon to a dealership. I wasn’t expecting any favors, and I knew I would probably not get much as a trade in, but it was what I had to do. That is when we met Frank Flores. Yes, I still remember our salesmen’s name. I don’t think I’ll ever forget him. He was true angel in disguise.
Sure he came up to us almost immediately after we got out of the station wagon. I could see the many other salesmen spying at us as we made our way around the lot. But he approached us first, a stocky , middle aged man in a brown suit, and smirky grin, he offered his hand in a handshake and offered his services.

“Hello! I’m Frank Flores, how can I help you today?”

I was a little nervous, and apprehensive about it all. I knew my credit at the time was not what you would call “stellar”. I explained my situation. I was a single mom, with a fixed budget and I needed a reliable car. I was honest. I told him that station wagon was leaking oil, but I needed to trade it in, because I didn’t have any other money for a down payment. He looked at me, and smiled while saying:

“We’ll make it happen Julie!”

I’m not quite sure if he appreciated my honesty, or he took pity in me, or if it was the cute angelic faces of my children that really “made it happen”. He took us around the lot, and showed us a few cars, but then showed one in particular that he thought was the best. It was an used Nissan Altima. It was a few years old, but it was nice, and according to Mr. Flores:
“I’ve driven the same car for years, and it’s the most reliable car I’ve even owned.”
I test drove it around town with the kids, and they were quite impressed.

“Mom, let’s get it!” the kids said excitedly.

I wasn’t quite sure if Mr. Flores could actually “make it happen”, but I was willing to try.
Once we got back to the lot, Frank took us inside, and we waited patiently for the manager to give the okay, and check out my pitiful wagon. Mr. Flores reassured me that I would get a good down payment with my trade in.

“But, Mr. Flores, I’m afraid there is already a puddle of oil underneath the engine of the station wagon.”

Mr. Flores shrugged and reassured me that “he wouldn’t see it.”
So we sat there for about a hour. I could see the manager coming back from the lot, and to me he didn’t seem very impressed. They ran the credit check, and checked for current insurance. I was sensing negative vibes everywhere. After a number of visits to the ice cooler, and a bag of chips from the vending machine, the kids were getting restless. I was almost at the point of considering to give up and leave the premises in shame. The only positive thing in the building was Mr. Frank Flores’ smile as he came out with the papers.

I don’t know how this guy did it, but he made it happen. As he handed over the keys to our “new” car, I was finally free from my oil guzzler station wagon, along with it’s unhappy memories that were attached to it—now I thought, perhaps, it would give all three of us, the kids and I a new little beginning.

On the way home, the kids went on and on, and made up a song about Mr. Flores. He was the hero of the day for sure, and he will always be remembered, for he “made it happen.” Although that car is no longer with us, it saw a new marriage,a new combined family and home, and many other happy beginnings and memories. Mr. Flores was right. That car was the most reliable car I had ever owned. Thank you again Mr. Flores for making it happen!

1 comment:

Arlyne Nelms said...

What a great story! I know there are misconceptions about used car salesmen being pushy to a fault, trying to get you to buy a car even if you’re not ready to yet. But Mr. Flores seemed genuine in his intentions. He really was a hero. Who knows what could have happened if you continued to drive a severely damaged car? Mr. Flores didn’t just get you a “new” car that day, but he might even have saved your lives.