Dennis needed some mechanical work for his car. Since the garage he had been taking his car to had closed, he needed to find a good and honest mechanic. His friend gave him a recommendation: D’s Auto Repair.
Dennis was pleasantly surprised to discover that the owner of D’s was a mechanic who had worked on his car several years earlier. Back then, he was an employee at a gas station near Dennis’s home. Dennis never really spoke to him that much before, but he knew that his work was good.
Dennis filled out the paperwork for the repair and waited while the owner of D’s took a phone call from another customer. As Dennis sat there, he looked around the small office to keep himself occupied. A framed newspaper article caught his attention. The headline read, “Local Dairy Farmer Kills Whole Herd.”
The article was about the actions of a fifth-generation dairy farmer during the tainted milk scare in Michigan several years earlier. Apparently, dairy cows were becoming infected with a disease that was affecting the milk supply. The situation had become serious enough that the state decided to test all the cows in Michigan for the disease. The dairy lobby protested and the state was issued a restraining order. It appeared as though it would take months of legal jockeying before the dilemma could be resolved. In the meantime, dairy farmers could continue to sell milk, and also their cows for beef.
The fifth-generation dairy farmer decided this plan wouldn’t work for him and chose another avenue. He paid to have all his cows tested. Out of the entire herd, only a few were found to be infected. Because no one could assure that the other cows were totally safe, he had the herd killed and buried in a way that would not harm the environment or the water supply. The farmer’s insurance did not cover the loss because the state had not issued an order for him to dispose of the herd. Asked why he did it, the farmer replied, “Because it was the right thing to do.”
Dennis asked the owner why he displayed the article on the wall. He thought that the owner might be related to or somehow knew the farmer. The owner said he had never met the man, but that the farmer was an inspiration to him and set a standard for integrity, trust and honesty. He said that is how he operated his auto repair business and that he would like to have people say the same kind of things about him that he said about the farmer.
Dennis was doubly impressed, with both the farmer and the owner of D’s. The next year, on his recommendation, Dennis’s son started a nine-month mechanics apprenticeship at D’s Auto Repair. Dennis wanted his son to learn from the owner, not only because he was a good mechanic, but more importantly because he was an honest man of high integrity.