Today, my family was traveling to San Diego to visit the Wild Amnimal Park, when our car began to make a noise. We pulled off and looked under the hood to see a belt that was severely frayed. We knew it was going to break, so we called Triple A, and asked where we should go. It was Sunday. They told us to turn around and leave San Clemente and go to Aliso Viejo to Pep Boys. They mapped us to the location on Aliso Creek Road.
Once we made it there, we were relieved. Over the years, we have had a great number of car repairs at various Pep Boys. Of course, living in Huntington Beach, CA - we were unfamiliar with this particular store. The manager on duty of the service department - Michael - was the person who waited on us. After looking right through us for about 5 minutes, he asked if we needed help. We told him we were traveling and needed a belt replaced. What occurred next is really amazing.
He refused to help us. He said it would not be fair to the customers who made appointments for their repairs. He said it was 1:00pm on a Sunday, and they were not able to help. I asked if he realized we were traveling, and would be stranded. I told him Triple A had sent us. Not concerned at all, even while looking at our 10 and 8 year old girls with us - he just rudely refused.
I wonder if Michael might not be homophobic? A female couple and 2 young daughters flatly turned away? Not like the customer service of ANY Pep Boys we have ever been to. Perhaps a personal issue. A young service technician saw what was happening and actually walked outside with us to see if he could help us. He was willing to fix it if it was an easy fix. We drive a Mercedes, and it was not a quick fix. He pointed us to another location to try. This was a terrific employee. He told us Michael does not handle stress well. I asked who Michael's boss was, and learned I needed to contact Patrick.
The story ended well. Al, at the 76 Service Station not only stayed late to fix the belt - when we found it was not tightening correctly - he drove us all the way home, to be sure we were safe. We will return to Al's tomorrow to get the car. THAT is over and above. I don't expect their people to be that amazing - but a common courtesy and kindness, IS expected.
The store I visited was:
26881 Aliso Creek Rd
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Phone: (949) 362-9254
I am a manager in the MemorialCare Hospital System. It appalls me that someone like Michael is representing the Pep Boys Corporation. Perhaps he is too stressed, and might need to be relieved of such duties that cause him to turn away customers in need.