Every now and then, someone comes along who shakes up your idea of why you're in business and helps you appreciate what you can do for people.
One of our customers, Thomas Besteder, got us and several other local businesses involved in an effort to help a co-worker of his in serious need. Thomas works at Kimco Design and Manufacturing and noticed his co-worker, Arnold Terrell, was missing work. After asking about it, Thomas found out that Arnold's wife had become seriously ill and he was spending time taking her to and from medical appointments. At the same time, Arnold's 1978 Toyota pickup was in need of repair, including tires.
"Someone from work asked if I'd be willing to help out becau
se they knew that I am good at hitting the streets and talking to people to get some charity action started," said Thomas. "People come to me all the time to see if I can help them with situations because they know I help a lot of people."
Thomas and his coworkers thought of ways to help Arnold. There's a lot of that at Kimco: Earlier this year, Thomas was ill and fellow employees raised enough to cover four of his paychecks and $250 cash to help him out.
"It's really a fantastic place to work. People often donate their vacation time to others in strife or give cash," Thomas said.
Thomas started going door-to-door to various businesses to see what they could offer. While a lot of businesses turned him down, others were eager to help. Two Boys Towing donated towing the car from Terrell's home in Meridian to our shop. Thomas purchased a set of four tires and a tire company in Eagle, which doesn't want to be named, donated mounting and installation of new tires.
Thomas, a long time customer of ours, asked us what we could do to help. While we don't take on many charity cases, we know Thomas has a huge heart and is forthright. We felt that if Thomas said someone needed help, then they genuinely needed help and our involvement could make a huge difference in someones' life.
We donated half the cost of the repairs and Thomas is coming up with the rest. Among other things, we removed and replaced the master cylinder and ignition switch, put in new brakes and brake cylinders, and did road test inspections. Arnold says his car now runs well and he's better able to help his wife.
"My pickup drives much better than it has for a long time. My wife Linda and I are deeply thankful for the help Tom and TuneTech and the others have given us," Arnold said. "The improvements bless me very much."
Thomas says he's a compulsive good Samaritan, whether it's helping to feed homeless people, raking yards and painting homes for the elderly, picking up trash along the road or helping someone in a difficult situation.
Thomas Besteder helped organize donations to help a co-worker get his truck repaired. Left to right: Kelly Fearnley, Arnold Terrell, Linda Terrell, Thomas Besteder, Ed Guild
"I believe that we have to stand up as people and really be part of the community we live in if we ever want to see a positive change in the world. We so often walk past people in need of something and never think about how they are living their lives. To me it's all about compassion and love for others. If you can put yourself in their situation and emotional state you know that you'd never want to be there. So the right thing to do is to help."
In our business, we try to apply these principles every day. We're really in the business of helping people - get them to work, to get them home, to safely get their families to their destinations. It helps, though, when someone like Thomas comes through the front door and gives you the chance to make a difference in someone's life. In that way, he has helped us as much as we helped Arnold.