SPIN MY RIDE: A plan gone wrong … The loss of a customer

By James Durand

We have a local customer at Swicked who comes in semi regularly for some small parts, minor repairs, or just to get out of the rain. We’ll call him Fred.

Fred’s first words are usually, “I don’t have any money, but” then he tells us what he needs repaired on his bike.

He is obviously down on his luck and maybe hasn’t made great decisions thus far in his life. To be honest it’s kind of a pain in the butt and a little disruptive to our daily routine, but this guy has always been polite and we figure the small inconvenience for us goes a long way for him, so we do what we can to help out.

A few weeks ago he rolled in with a bike … and a long story of where he acquired it. He was hoping we could sell it for him quickly and put a few dollars in is pocket.

His story explained how he had found the bike, turned it into the police, and then after months with no-one claiming it, the police told him it was now his property.

A great story about a guy down on his luck who decided to do the right thing, and in the end benefits because of it.

The only sad part was that we recognized the bike. We had worked on it five weeks earlier for a long time client named Mike. A few days later Mike’s bike was stolen from in front of his work. It wasn’t a great bike, but it was Mike’s main mode of transport and very valuable to him.

So we told Fred to come back in a few hours and we would see what we could do for his bike sale. Then we called Mike and he came down to get his bike. He was so stoked to have it back and be able to commute to work again. It’s a pretty good feeling to get a bike back in the rightful owner’s hands, especially when he thought it was gone for good.

Then, Fred returned for his payday. I informed him that we didn’t sell it, but the bike was returned to the owner. I half expected him to walk out with his tail between his legs knowing he’d been busted in a lie, but I was wrong, very wrong.

He lost it, yelled at me a bunch, threatened me, and promised to “mess this place up.” As he was leaving he tried to break our windows, but was having no success. It was at that point that another customer witnessing this whole episode stepped in. He is our biggest customer, and I don’t mean dollar wise, but in actual size. He’s a big boy and when Fred saw that coming his way, his attitude instantly changed and he bolted down the street.

So we made Mike super happy, discovered how loyal our customers can be, even when it comes to protecting our building, and we haven’t seen Fred since, so apparently he calmed down and got on with his life, hopefully with a more honest approach.

In the end, I think I prefer my dramatic moments to be on my bike, opposed to in the shop.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…