Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You just never know

Sean occasionally passes along PR stuff from the plant. What he sent yesterday caught my eye and made me think, “You never know who you’re going to meet!”

Deborah Kyles-Williams, Quality Systems manager at Powertrain Toledo, ran into someone who was very interested in her new Camaro. The following is an article she wrote for PowerLine, the plant’s newsletter:

This past weekend I was driving one of GM Powertrain Toledo's test vehicles - 2010 Chevrolet Camaro that is HOT! It is dark blue with white racing stripes on the hood. You can imagine the number of looks this car attracted.

Saturday morning before 9 a.m., I stopped into the Arborland Starbucks off US 23 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There was a gentleman in line directly in front of me that seemed to know all of the Starbucks personnel. I didn't pay attention to the person then, but when I came out of the Starbucks, he was standing beside the Camaro. I asked him if he liked the vehicle and he emphatically stated yes.

The gentleman and I started talking about vehicle response times, design and general car talk for about ten minutes. He stated he was with the competition and gestured toward a red Ford pick-up beside the Camaro. I told him I did not view Ford as the competition as we are all in the same boat - trying to stay solvent in this economy. I made a couple of statements concerning Ford's positive financial status and said I hoped both Ford and GM continued to improve.

The gentleman leaned into the Camaro and I asked if he would like to sit in it. He looked surprised and said, “Really?” I replied, “Sure,” and offered to hold his coffee. He got into the vehicle and we talked about what was really working and he stated the only thing he did not like was the blank space on the dash and the type of plastic used (he thought a softer plastic would have looked better).

The gentleman got out of the vehicle and asked me my name. I introduced myself, stated I worked at the Toledo Transmission plant as Quality Systems manager and was proud to say, “Toledo produces the transmission for the Camaro along with launching a front-wheel-drive.” The gentleman said, “I know.” We shook hands as I asked him his name, to which he replied, “Bill Ford.” I was visibly taken aback when I asked, “The Bill Ford?” He smiled and answered, “Yes.”

Bill Ford, Jr. and I talked another five minutes. When parting, he stated, “I hate to say this, but you guys (GM) did good!”

Now that’s just flat-out cool.

(I still dream of bumping into Amy Grant like this, despite my unfortunate blogosphere run-in with her manager this summer…)