Need to buy a car? If so, then here’s where you go:
Mountain States Toyota, Denver, Colorado.
Why? Because they are outstanding!
Ask for Bengy Martinez—the happy salesperson with the big smile (email him at Bengy.Martinez@mountainstatestoyota.com). Let me tell you, Bengy is a star. And like every star, he has a supporting cast. In his case, sales manager, Matt Marr, and General Manager, Tim VanBinsbergen.
Some background: My wife, Karen, and I were not planning to buy two new vehicles this year, but a horrific May hailstorm—like none we’ve ever seen in our dozen Denver years—destroyed her Honda Odyssey mini-van and my fav “candy red” Toyota Tacoma longbed!
So, long story short, off to Mountain States we went, because we’d bought there before and have always been treated with dignity and respect. Well, low and behold there was a “pre-owned” (back in the day we called them “used”) Nissan Xterra for me—almost candy red—and another Odyssey van for Karen.
We bought. And all was well.
A few days later, I noticed the Odyssey’s back right tire looking soft, so I put some air in it. Honestly, I never thought much about it, until a June Saturday evening when our 22-year-old son, Michael, drove Mom and Dad to the Denver Int’l Airport to fly out for that long-planned cruise from Seattle to Alaska to celebrate our 30th. It was then on busy Peña Ave.—the only highway into DIA—we heard a “bam!” and a “bonk” and pulled over to find a flat tire. Yep, right side, rear.
Stupid! I thought. Should’ve gotten that tire fixed!
Decision time: Change the tire on the shoulder, call for a tow from the roadside, or try to go two more miles to DIA and let Mike handle it all. But Mike spoke up with, “Come on, Dad, let’s change the tire.”
“Oh, fine.” I responded, with absolutely no heart in it.
But then—wait for it—the problem that would lead to Bengy, Matt, and Tim becoming heroes presented itself.
There was no spare. Nor was there a Honda-specific tool to remove the wheel lugnuts.
My first thought was, I know it’s a used car that we purchased “as is,” but who sells a car with no spare and no lugnut wrench!?!?
So while calling for a tow truck, we limped on to the airport. Once there, we hugged Mike goodbye and headed to our gate. Fun way to begin the trip!
The next day, before we left Port Seattle, I emailed Bengy this note (abbreviated):
“Bengy, we bought the Odyssey from you and it had a bad back right tire from the start which blew out last night as Karen and I were being driven to the airport. We had to have the car towed to our home where it sits. Karen and I are now heading to Alaska and I’d like to ask what can you do for us? It’s not normal to sell an expensive vehicle without a spare and no way to remove the lugnuts, is it!? Thank you!”
After I sent my polite, frustration-laced note, I feared Bengy and Cast had only three choices:
1. Apathy. Do nothing.
2. Point fingers at the prior owner who kept the spare tire or at the “other department” who took the car into the dealership and didn’t check for a spare. And then do nothing.
3. Do something to help us, but charge us.
I did not really think there was a fourth choice, but that’s what outstanding organizations and people are all about:
Surprising and delighting the customer!
So there we were, enjoying life on the “high seas” while the problem back in Colorado was getting solved. As Mountain States Toyota moved fast to excel, son Michael later texted me a suggestion: “Dad, you should write this story up as a QuickNote!” As a father, just that observation makes me proud, because we can’tbe outstanding, till we can see outstanding. I’m glad he saw it.
So, what was Bengy’s solution? Mid week, a tow truck was sent 18 miles to our home to pick up the car, tow it to the shop, and repair the tire. Cool, right? But then, on that Saturday night, Bengy, the sales guy, personally drove Karen’s van to our home, parking it in our driveway. When we arrived home Sunday, there it was—ready for “Mom use.”
The next day, joyful, helpful Bengy told me, “Finding your house in the dark out in the boonies was not an easy trick. I bet I passed it five times before I knew it was yours! But, no biggie—glad we got it to you!”
That’s Bengy, a happy guy who loves to serve—and sell cars. And that’s a good thing, since most of us need one.
Oh, and guess what? I later found out that the Odyssey model we have does not come equipped with a spare. This makes Mountain States’ actions even moreimpressive. Clearly, they could’ve said, “Sorry, not our problem!”
So, do you need a car? If so, go to Bengy and see what personal accountability and outstanding service look like wrapped in a really big smile.
John G. Miller