Hands on the wheel – Guest Blog by Terrell Brinlee

summer road trip down the highway“At a time when the world seems to be spinning hopelessly out of control,
There’s deceivers and believers and old in-betweeners,
That seem to have no place to go.
Well, it’s the same old song, it’s right and it’s wrong,
And living is just something that I do.
And I found myself in you.
I look to the stars, tried all of the bars,
And I’ve nearly gone up in smoke.
Now my hand is on the wheel, I’ve something that’s real,
And I feel like I’m going home.”
-Willie Nelson

The last stanza in these words by Willie Nelson is something that I love to talk about: “Now my hand is on the wheel, I’ve got something real.” The writer shares an experience of solace, but what I find most curious is the connection that is made towards the concept of driving, and the human experience.
For me, there is nothing better than a long drive on a summer’s day in my Honda Civic with the windows down, the sun roof open, my latest mix CD blasting, a pack of cigarettes, and a vente’ latte’ with four sugars in the raw & a honey from Starbucks; Pop it into 5th gear, hit 70mph, and set the cruise control.


The truth is that almost everyone can relate with me—give or take a few details. As I build on this, I ask that you come back in time with me to whenever you first started driving. Either we started at 15 or 16 years old like the typical American, or you were like me: sneaking out of my window at two o’clock in the morning to take my grandmother’s Ford Tempo on a joy ride before I was licensed. We all longed to drive, to be in the driver’s seat, with our hands on the wheel.

Since the turn of the century, vehicles have become an expansion of the human condition: a step in our evolution as a society. They are tightly woven into the very fabric of our being, especially for an American, and even further more as a Texan.

This extension of one’s self can be seen in us as we survey though the various makes & models, body styles, and colors. We need vehicles to meet our needs, and want them to represent us:
The Masculinity of an F350
The Off-Road adventure of a Cherokee
The Vogue of a Civic
The Quirkiness of a Cube
The Family-Minded of a Sienna
Or the Simplicity of an Elantra

We choose our beast wisely because we have to like them, but more importantly because we have to trust them. So, every morning when we get in and start our vehicle to go wherever it is that our day calls for, we are securing who we are as motorist in an almost completely vehicular driven society.
But what happens when paradise has been interrupted? What happens when on that morning you get in, and the vehicle doesn’t start? What happens when the very thing that you’ve come to put your complete trust in becomes untrustworthy?

“I need my car to go to work tomorrow”
“I have three kids; I have to have my vehicle”
“I use this truck for my work!”

These familiar words have been our own in the past, and will inevitably enter our vocabulary again in the future. What is unfortunate is that with the rise of computer technologies in vehicles, it has become almost impossible for someone to do any repairs on their own without thousands upon thousands of dollars in training, equipment, and time to take care of the problem themselves? Our only option now is to bring our vehicle to a technician, but who can be trusted in an industry that is known for foul play.

I come into contact with situations like these almost every day at the shop, and one thing that we’ve come to know is most important to people is: “Can I trust the person I’m leaving my car with?” After all when you’re vehicle is down, it can put your whole life on hold, so when in this position you should always consider the following:

* That your situation is being handled by a professional that would treat your vehicle like it was their own financially and mechanically. They should be completely prepared to guide you in the best route that you should take whenever it comes to repair, so that the money you’re investing into your vehicle is appropriately used.
* The skill level of the technicians that will be working your vehicle is also extremely important. An L1 technician is the highest certification that one could receive in the industry. Ideally you want one of these technicians working on your vehicle, or supervising the job being done by another ASE certified technician.
* Lastly, and most importantly, a big part of any shops credibility is that they are willing to stand behind their work, and warranty a job for at least three years or 36 thousand miles.

Three years ago whenever Ms. Lynn asked me to join the Beckwith’s team, I thought that I was being hired on to just another random shop. Never being exposed to the industry, I soon found that I had been given the opportunity to be part of a company that had been recognized locally & nationally multiple times prior to my incoming. Year after year Beckwith’s Car Care has been rewarded for its excellence because we have followed the model that I’d previously mentioned.

Excellence and Outstanding performance is not something that we do just for your vehicle. We are constantly looking for ways to stay active in the community. Through the years we have worked closely with the Humble Noon Lion’s Club, Go Red for Women, and promoting and distributing US Constitutions to say the least. Not to mention our recent political involvement with the City of Houston to better protect you as the consumer from a potential threat.

I do have to say that I’m pretty proud of the grand scheme of things, but what has been most honorable for me was to see the shop achieve the status as one of the TOP TEN SHOPS IN THE NATION chosen by MotorAge magazine. For the first time in my career at Beckwith’s I saw our hard work and dedication come to fruition.

I like to believe that customer service is something that comes natural to me, and I think it’s clear why I have made a nest at our shop. We believe that automotive repair should be as painless as Susan Curling could make before you were to go to surgery; that’s why we offer a shuttle to just about anywhere, drop of and delivery, and a rewards program. We believe that your vehicle’s maintenance schedule should be adapted to your personal schedule and driving habits, and—like Celese Pauley—we only use the best products formulated to keeping your vehicle healthy. Lastly, we also believe that you should be given the same peace of mind when you leave our shop as when you leave the office Ed Dormer; that’s why we offer a Lifetime Protection Plan for all of your vehicles that can assist you financially in the event you have a break down in the future.
So, with all of that said I would like to close with some words of encouragement that I personally believe in.

At Beckwith’s Car Care we are your blue collar doctor for your extended vehicular self, and as the evolution of vehicles continue towards the future you can count on the fact that Beckwith’s will continue to know and understand YOU and your vehicle regardless of make & model. Our customer’s drive happy cars because the driver is confident, and in that confidence of driving a vehicle that you can trust, I am satisfied that on that long summer’s day road trip that I hope you’ll take in the ensuing months that you can experience the same joy that I have come to know as absolute BLISS.

by Terrell Brinlee

This Intangible Existence


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