This is a question I find myself pondering more often lately. I have written about it before. As the crime rates seem to rise, the war on drugs seems a lost cause and the number of Attorneys and pharmaceutical commercials flood the networks I have to admit the future often looks bleak at first glance. Add in the ever present political circus and the overwhelming liberal assaults on social media; the perception of common sense and customer service having become a thing of the past and it only makes an even darker reality for some folks.

As I began writing this Julie and I were sitting in a Motel 6 in Pigeon Forge, TN. This wasn’t a planned stop on our current trip, we were on our way back to Norfolk VA, and decided to stop in Gatlinburg, TN to check out Make It Magic, one of the few “Brick and Mortar” magic shops left in the USA. Our Jeep got us to within a block of the shop when the caliper on the front right wheel locked up and we smelled an awful burning smell and were assaulted by a cloud of smoke as we pulled into the lot. I crawled under and was fairly positive on my diagnosis. We decided we’d let it cool down and see if we could check out the shop and see if they knew of a repair shop that was open on a Saturday afternoon.

As we walked into the shop I immediately knew the 20 or so miles we had trekked out of our way, was going to be worth it, auto malfunction aside. This log cabin on a country road was packed with quality magic. They also have a good assortment of beautiful stained glass and other wood craft items for sale.

I met Betty Baldwin, the owner of Make It Magic, and explained our predicament, the first two shops she thought of had burned to the ground during recent forest fires. Not being local we had no cell service, so Betty googled a few shops, let me use her phone and within minutes we had a tow truck on the way from a company called Carr’s Auto Service, in near by Pigeon Forge. After speaking to Matt from Carr’s I learned they had mechanics on duty 7 days a week. While we waited, Betty and Rick Starkey kept us entertained by showing us some of their excellent selection of Magic. We picked up a few things and thanked them both for their help.

Carr’s sent someone within the hour, but with the tourist traffic (hectic weekend here in Dollywood) it was nearly 4:30 pm by the time they got us to the shop. Turns out my diagnosis was correct and we’d need new rotor, pads, calipers and brake lines and they wouldn’t be able to get the parts until Sunday morning, yes you heard me right, they were going to be able to get the parts on a Sunday morning and they would have a mechanic available to conduct the necessary repairs. Matt said their company could be there within an hour and they were.

About a year ago I was picking Julie up at the Airport, and we had a similar smell that we couldn’t figure out and a little smoke on that side. But couldn’t determine where the problem was. By the time we got it to a local shop we guesstimated that it was perhaps the alternator, so we got it replaced even though it tested fine on the bench. Somehow we hadn’t had the same problem since. Though now looking back I suspect the caliper had locked up back then. Which explains why the bench test of the old alternator was inconclusive.

With the Jeep at least under control our next issue was going to be finding somewhere to stay the night and possibly the weekend. Every hotel we called was either booked, or their fees were exorbitant. One place was going to give me a discount down to $370.00. Julie and I decided we’d just sleep in our Jeep Wrangler. Nothing we haven’t done before. So I asked Bill at Carr’s if they’d mind us staying in their lot for the evening. Bill immediately wanted to know why, and when I explained to him we weren’t going to pay $400/night, he began calling around town. He called everyone they do business with, and I can tell you Carr’s Auto does a lot of business. Bill got 10-15 responses of no vacancies, but he didn’t quit. He kept calling until he got a yes. It wasn’t one of our preferred motels, but beggars can’t be choosers. Bill not only found us a room at the local Motel 6, (it was only $66.00/night) and one of their employees dropped us off at the motel.

Carr’s Auto said they’d call us as soon as the repairs were close to being done, and then pick us up and bring us back to our freshly repaired Jeep. Now that is customer Service! I called about 830 this morning, and the first question the young lady asked us was, “Bill wanted to ask how the hotel room was? He doesn’t want to send anyone else there if it was not decent.” Now the Motel 6 wasn’t a Marriott (our favorite family of Motels), but it was decent.

By 1030 am they were test driving the Jeep, sent someone back to the motel to fetch us and we were on the road again by noon. Good people are still here, doing good things, doing the right things even when it isn’t easy. Anyone in the Pigeon Forge area needing roadside service I highly recommend Carr’s Auto Service ( and special thanks to Betty and Rick for helping us find them and for making a difficult situation enjoyable. So if you can catch them performing or teaching, while you are passing through it’s also highly recommended ( Hope your treks are as enjoyable as ours are.