Early last month, I was in a bind.

After joyriding my 2002 hot-rod Ford Focus on Farm-to-Market 2484 and Stillhouse Lake Road, it died.

As I tried to restart it, the engine coughed a horrific metal slapping sound before gasping its last breath and going mute. It blew a rod.

I called the nearest trusted mechanic shop, National Tire and Battery, about an hour before it closed at 8 p.m. I was cutting it close.

Expecting disappointment, I was surprised by the empathetic service rep:

“Just wait for the tow, man. We’ll be here until about 9.”

A double-long tow truck finally pulled in to the small parking lot about 8:50, and took 30 minutes to precisely angle it and drag my car onto the flatbed.

I called NTB again at about 9:10, as the tow truck driver finished the load.

“Will you guys still be there in about 10 minutes?”

“Bring it through, man.”

I arrived 20 minutes later, and Phillip Hassell had left one garage bay open for my dragster.

After Hassell confirmed that my car couldn’t be fixed, I returned the next day to clean the car out and wait for the junkyard tow.

As the hours passed, I cluelessly and sporadically asked him about my car’s value, where I should buy the next one and what I should buy.

Not remotely irked by my rushed questions or inferior car knowledge, he joked with and educated me between waiting on customers.

He offered coffee, water and a table to eat lunch without hesitation, and didn’t once ask when the tow guy was coming.

And Hassell didn’t charge a dime for his hospitality. Not what I expect from the typical cattle-herding corporate establishment.

“Our manager, he lets us do what we need to do to help somebody,” Hassell said. “We can all have a better conscience at the end of the day.”

The 25-year-old former Army specialist and Texas Department of Criminal Justice employee flipped a 180-degree turn when he started in the customer service field, he said.

“I had to change completely,” Hassell said. “Now, it’s just easy. I can be myself. I love helping people out. It’s worth it to me in the end, and I don’t ever expect anything out of it.”

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.