An Industry That Goes Above and Beyond

Whether it is via Facebook, employee feedback or old fashioned pen-and-paper comment cards, truckstops and travel plazas are collecting customer feedback and firsthand accounts of their employees going above and beyond the call of duty. In an industry known for its hospitality, positive stories abound. In this issue of StopWatch, NATSO members shared several stories of its staff going above and beyond.

"I stopped on I-94 just north of Kenosha to help a stranded hog farmer. I work for the Wisconsin State Police. Typically this is a very busy and dangerous time of day for a roadside breakdown. A TA service truck pulled up and put out cones and a giant road service repair sign...The TA [employee] jacked the trailer up and the customer put his tire on. [The TA employee] gathered up his cones and sign. I asked him how much he would charge for a quick service like this. He replied, “Nothing. I was just driving by, had the jack and could see he needed a couple minutes of help.” I got his business card and came to find out he is the shop manager, Michael Soeldner. Mr. Soeldner deserves recognition for simply doing the right thing. It’s not every day someone lends a hand. On behalf of the Wisconsin State Police, thank you."
— Commander Edward Reyes, Russell, Ill.

"A couple of months back, three women came into the shop area and were in desperate need of some help with their horse trailer (pulled by a Chevy). The wheel bearing had gone out. The problem was they were loaded with handicapped horses that they had found a home for. However, if they didn’t make their delivery on time they would miss the appointment and have to take the horses to the slaughterhouse. They were short on money and couldn’t pay for a tow or the repairs at that time. We were slow in the shop so my tech, Willie Hammond, volunteered to do the repairs if we got the parts. We got the parts needed for the repairs and got them on their way. The horses were on their way to their new home. It was great to know that we saved the horses!"
—James Harris, Truck Service General Manager, Livingston, Calif.

"On Dec. 23, 2010, my wife, our two kids, our two little dogs and I were driving home in our car for Christmas to Las Vegas, Nev., from Eloy, Ariz. We had to baby our car from Wikieup, Ariz., all the way to Kingman, Ariz., because the radiator had a small hole on the side of it and the reservoir bottle had a hole on the top of it. No matter how much water or antifreeze we put in, it just kept blowing out of it. So we finally (after babying the car for about 60 miles) pulled into the Petro shop and asked if they worked on cars...They said, “No, sorry we don’t, but here are some numbers to call.” I said thank you, walked out, and left the hood up and went to get some more antifreeze and new oil...What happened next was a true Christmas gift. [Employee] Jim Olive and his staff were great. He had found the issue. It was a broken water pump belt. He had called around and found one. We got to talking and found out that he was from a small town about 35 miles away from my late grandparents’ estate. Jim said to leave the hood up so the car could cool down, and when we were done [eating] the belt should be there. I said great and I’d put it on. So we took the kids and went to get something to eat. We came back and looked for Jim, but they said he went home. We asked about the belt and Don said to start the car and take it for a spin, so I did. I came back and the car worked fine. We asked what the bill was and Don said,“ Jim said to charge you for the belt, send you on your way and wish you a Merry Christmas!”We were shocked to know that there are still great people who will go out of their way to help someone in need. With him going above and beyond his duties, we were able to make it home for Christmas and see our grandchildren as well. So thank you to Jim and his staff for making it possible for us to make it home! You guys will definitely see us in the future."
— Larry and April Moffitt


This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.

The magazine is mailed to NATSO members bimonthly. If you are a member and not receiving Stop Watchsubmit a request to be added to the mailing list. Not a memberJoin today or submit a request to receive additional information.



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