Black Porche 911
by Justin Abell

     I have been employed at the Grove Park Inn for a little over a year now. I work in the guest services department. During the course of my work there I’ve had the chance to interact with many different types of people, but I never really take the time to have a real conversation. On one occasion I did make the effort to actually talk with the guest, and found out that I really enjoy getting to know people.

     One afternoon at work the atmosphere was rudely interrupted by blaring car alarm. I scanned my eyes over the parking lot searching for the source of the noise. My eyes finally rested on a group of individuals standing next to van who seemed as confused about the noise as I was. As I looked farther I noticed an elderly gentleman frantically fighting with his key chain. My basic instincts told me that this must be his car.

      As I walked towards the black Porsche 911 the noise came to an abrupt stop. The only thing I heard was the sigh of relief coming from the group of guests by the van. At this point I was very close to the elderly gentleman, so I proceeded to make my usual welcoming speech.
      “Can I help you sir.” I asked politely.
      “I don’t know son, can you?” He remarked in a low, but cheerful voice.
      “What seems to be the problem?” I asked as he handed me the keys.
I examined the key chain and didn’t see any trace of an alarm. The old man’s eyes were in a state of complete confusion as he stood staring at the car. It was at this point in time that I decided to stay with the man until his problem was resolved.
      “I’ve had this car for fourteen years and never heard it cry like that.”
      “You don’t say?” I said, as I admired the designer interior.
      “Yup, she’s only got around 74 thousand miles on her.”
      “How about you start up the engine and let me have look see?” I asked, knowing he wanted nothing more then to show off his car.
      “Sure, son.” he agreed.

     Sure enough the engine seemed to be in perfect shape. He told me about all he had done to it and about how he performed all the work himself. The alarm became a thing of the past as we stood talking about cars. I had been valeting cars for about two months so I gave the man a little of my own insight on the newer models Porsche had developed. He seemed impressed with all I had to say. The conversation lasted well over twenty minutes, which is much more time than I usually spent with a guest.

     When the conversation came to a close I wished the man a good afternoon and let him know it was a pleasure talking with him.
      “I hope that alarm stays silent for you,” I said, as I walked towards the entrance of the hotel.

     I wondered if the car even had an alarm in the first place. I guess it was probably the people in the van. I don’t think the man was even really concerned about the alarm. I think he just had a great time showing off his car. It was quite obvious that my compliment made his day. It was as if all the hard work he had put into his vehicle had finally paid off when he found somebody who appreciated it. I think I did a good thing that day. If having a twenty minute conversation with a man can lift his spirits, then it can lift mine too.

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