By Dan Beres, Managing Partner, Recall Masters

The news has not been exactly great recently. I don’t know about you, but I welcome any good news that brightens my day in some way. For that reason, I loved a recent story a friend sent to me from the Charlotte Observer.

It is one thing to be involved in your community by hosting a blood drive or collecting holiday gifts for needy children (all worthwhile efforts, by the way) and quite another thing to go above and beyond these one-time or seasonal events.

What if someone needed a place to stay because they were homeless? Would you let them sleep inside your dealership at night? Let’s take it to the next level. Would you let them sleep inside a car that’s on your front line knowing that you may have customers looking at that and potentially wanting to buy it the next day? Probably not.

That, however, is exactly what one dealer has been doing since January. He now has over a dozen families that sleep in the cars on his lot nightly and expects that number to rise to 30 very quickly. The families arrive around 7:30 pm and leave by 7:30 am. Think about the quick work it must take for his staff to clean the cars every day to make sure that they are ready to show to a potential buyer. And they do this every… single… day. His community got wind of the news when he partnered with a local shelter to help, and locals have been donating food, supplies, and even a port-a-potty. The dealer also started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help get these families into stable homes.

While this certainly may not be for everyone, and perhaps not something you would do, I bring it up as it is so unusual and heartwarming. This act of kindness can only result in customer loyalty. Not only for those families he’s helped but also for members of the community. Could you imagine one of the families that he sheltered when they were down and out ever buying a car anyplace else once they are back on their feet? What about their families? And their family’s friends. And the local community that hears about his good deeds and joins in to help?

I’ve always believed that good deeds come back to you in the end. This dealer didn’t have to do any of this… but he did. This is community involvement to the extreme. My guess is that he would NEVER let any customer drive off his lot that wasn’t safe either.

Since COVID-19 emerged, dealers have been stepping up across the nation to help their communities more than ever. Here are a few examples:

Carter Myers Automotive team members are donating their time and vehicles to help Meals on Wheels. The help-line phone number is listed on its social media channels, and the group is running a TV commercial to inform the public of the initiative.

At the end of March, a help service for elderly people was set up at Giles Automotive in Louisiana as part of a “Giles Gives Back” program the dealership runs, and the Lafayette location has helped over 30 people.

There are many more examples out there of dealers doing their part to help their communities at this time. And that is just not being a business owner, or a car dealer, but being something even better… a human. Times are hard for many right now and emotions can run high. Other than doing what you can to help, I think one of the best things we can do is to respect other people and to be kind to those around us.

About the Author

Dan Beres is a Managing Partner of Recall Masters, Inc. who focuses his efforts on their Enterprise Services Division, OEM Relations and Strategic Partnerships. 

Author: Contributing Writer

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