My faith in human kindness and compassion was renewed when Hank Zimmerman, Manager of Gates Auto Body in Middleton, volunteered to help a stranded motorist and went the extra mile and then some! Based on his altruism and generosity, I believe he would go way beyond the call of duty to make sure that he serves his customers with integrity and competence.
Hank is a “Good Samaritan” who came to our rescue when he was on vacation at a resort in Florida. After my experience with Hank (in Florida where he had no expectation of gaining a customer), I would trust him completely and would enthusiastically recommend him and his body shop to anyone.
Here is a brief summary of how he demonstrated the best of human nature:
My wife was starting to back out of a crowded parking lot when the gear shift cable
on her car broke loose, preventing her from driving forward or from shifting into park. The lot sloped enough that she was afraid to depend on the parking brake. The car had already rolled within two feet of a brand new Cadillac behind her. The slope prevented us from pushing the car up hill. It was on a weekend, and we were a long way from home or from any mechanic — except, by Grace, a stranger named Hank.
Hank came to the rescue like The Lone Ranger and diagnosed the problem and attempted to fix it. He crawled under the car, while not dressed for dirty work, and then reached way down into the engine. Although his arm was not quite long enough to reach the end of the shift cable, he put his whole shoulder into it and finally was able to manually shift the car into Drive, so we could move the car. Then, with effort, he again manually shifted the car into Park. Then he offered his cell phone number and suggested that whenever we were ready to leave, we could call him, and he would come and shift the car into Drive, so we could drive it (forward only without shutting the engine off) to home or to a mechanic shop — thus avoiding the hassle of having it towed to who knows where. Later we called Hank, and he again reached way down into the engine and shifted first to Park, so we could start the engine, and then into Drive. When we left, Hank said if we had any problem on the way, to call him and he would come and get us, no matter how far… (the “extra mile”)
He refused payment for his kindness. He said, “Not a thing,” when I asked if there was something I could do for him.
Hank simply acted out of empathy and compassion. However, I feel compelled to do something to repay Hank for his help. Although I am certain that he had no expectations, I wrote a lengthy recommendation on Yelp for his Body Shop and posted the story on Facebook and Twitter. My motivation illustrates one of the principles of influence described by Robeet B. Cialdini, Ph.D., in his acclaimed book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Professor Cialdini includes the motive to reciprocate as one of the drivers of influence.