Raymond Hewitt (purchasing a van for his parents) was one of my most memorable sales in the 6 years of my employment at AMS. Raymond was a stickler for details and was not an easy sale. He asked me every question in the book and then some. He was certainly not going to purchase a wheelchair van for his parents sight unseen. He was just not going to take that risk. Price was important to him, but more important was the product quality and knowing that the van was going to work for his dad. He decided that he had to come to Atlanta to know for sure.
When Raymond arrived to inspect, purchase, and return home with his parents van, he ended up spending most of the day with me. The decision was tough. His dad needed lots of care and this van purchase was very important. When he got here, we looked and looked, measured and measured again, called home and discussed every detail with his parents but he just couldn't land it in his mind whether this van was the right van.
Then came Zeke to save the day. It just so happened that Zeke was in a similar chair to his dad. Zeke, joined the laborious endeavor and after a few demonstrations getting in and out of the van, Raymond was satisfied that the van was going to work and serve his parents needs.
Raymond and I test drove the van and he shared his heart with me and I saw the incredible love he had for his dad. I was moved by the level of love displayed by this grown man. As we talked, we found common ground in our faith although he admitted his faith had been tried and stretched over the years. We returned to the office to complete the paperwork and let him get started on the long trip home. It was in my small office, as we talked, that some walls came down and we began to discuss the real important things of life - that our only hope is found in Christ, and that we should never be too busy to take the time to know people. We both teared as we talked and our hearts were eternally knitted together.
Before Raymond left the office, I presented him with the hand made prayer blanket and explained to him that "our real desire was not for his parents to buy this van, but for his father to receive life and be healed in his body, soul, and spirit. We believe in a God that heals and a God that Loves. We pray over each blanket and ask God for restoration for every customer, his dad included." As I completed my explanation of the blanket, Raymond began to sob and express deep gratitude. He knew then that his mom would cherish it and it would mean a lot to her.
Raymond and I have spoken several times over the last couple of years. He has been one of our biggest advocates, often entertaining ideas as to how he could help us get the word out to everyone that there is an affordable solution and that there are people who care.
Today, I received a call from Raymond. His father recently passed away and his mom no longer needs the van. Raymond was careful to tell me that he believed that the van extended his dad's life by enabling him to get to the needed appointments over the last couple of years. He talked about how important it was to his family for his dad to be transported with dignity and the love of family as opposed to hired transportation companies. He made sure to tell me that the van performed flawlessly for the years that they used it. He expressed gratitude that brought tears to my eyes.
Finally, he asked me if we still made "those blankets". I told him that recently we had stopped providing the blankets to our customers. One of the primary seamstress was now selling vans and just didn't have the time. He wanted me to know that as his father lie in his bed dying at home with his family, his mother kept that blanket draped over his father. She was so touched by that blanket and held it as a prized possession of hope for her husband. Although, Raymond's father has moved into the next phase of life, his mother still keeps the blanket and has made mention of it's value to her.
As Raymond finished sharing with me, I found myself moved to tears. Raymond show me a level of love I had never seen before. He was doing so much for his parents and I was amazed at his self-less giving and true love for his dad. Some days I forget that every caller, every visitor, every co-worker is a person - a child of God - and that I have the power to impart life and hope or fear and death. Do not under-estimate the value of what you do. Do not take for granted the breath of life. Do not fail to take the time to care. It matters! What you are doing - cleaning vans, talking to customers, building links, programming widgets, reconciling bank accounts, or hugging another - make a difference and it matters! Every person you encounter has something to give you as well if you will only look.
Thanks for reading and for letting me share my story!
grace and peace
AMS Vans, Inc.