Today, while you read this, a 14-year old boy is lying on his bed in the cancer ward of a children’s hospital, struggling to breathe after vomiting for the umpteenth time this morning; his throat, mouth and lips burning with ulcers from the chemo.  Today he’ll be humbled a dozen times as his father and nurses change his clothes and bedding because he’s too weak to get up to the bathroom to take care of his diarrhea.    His mother will cry at home as she sterilizes the house for his homecoming.  His brother and sister try to push through a cloud of fear to catch a word or two of their math and social studies lessons. 

Somewhere a young widow is lost in how she’ll pay the bills and make a future for her family.  In another home a young girl cowers behind the sofa, praying that her father will pass out before she’s found and once again becomes the target of his drunken rage.

And today, the men and women who work in the Automotive Industry will stand up for them.  As I glanced through this morning’s Facebook news feed, here’s what I found our comrades involved in:

  • Armed Forces Foundation
  • Tour de Doughnut – local charities
  • The Compassionate Friends – grief support
  • Child Abuse Prevention
  • Equine Therapy for Handicapped Children
  • Orangutan Rescue
  • Breast Cancer Cure
  • Relay for Life – American Cancer Society
  • Brothers Forever – scholarship fund for children of a fallen Marine
  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand – childhood cancer
  • Utah Autism Give
  • HealthUnlocked – heart issues of children with Down syndrome
  • Little Jason – childhood cancer
  • SOS Great American Bake Sale – childhood hunger
  • Down syndrome run
  • Make-A-Wish

Cynics may cluck that it’s all for self-serving publicity.  Well I think they’re wrong.  People are rolling up their sleeves and putting their heart and sweat into helping with a cause that has touched their lives in one way or another.  And if they get a little publicity, so what – the money spends the same. 

The owner of a local independent shop invited my wife and me to join him to see some of the charitable work he’s involved with in his service club.  My wife made him cry with stories of some of the things we’re helping with.  We’re both customers of each other and have had a good association for several years.  But I’m really glad to know his heart better, and, you know what: I think I’m now more inclined to choose and refer his shop because of it.

If now’s not the right time to have your business get into a big community project, give your employees a half day off this summer to participate in someone else’s event or do some hands-on charitable work .  Maybe you’ll walk as my family does in your local Relay For Life, or at least stop into the event at lunch time and buy your hamburger from them instead of a fast food joint.  And if you’re at a McDonalds drop your change into the bin to help a family get some rest and peace at a Ronald McDonald House while their child is struggling in the intensive care unit.  Your quarters, dimes and nickels at Wendy’s go to helping families adopt children waiting for a loving home, somewhere where they won’t have to be hurt again. It's really very easy to find some way to help.

It’s the wonderful people that make our industry great.  Everyone has their own problems and every business has its challenges; and we find the best in ourselves when we reach through our own need to lend a hand.

 

Lance Boldt is Vice President and Co-Founder of AutoNetTV.  AutoNetTV’s digital signage products deliver entertaining and educational TV programming to the lobbies of automotive service and repair businesses as well as digital menu boards and automotive website video content.