AAA

Not long ago, I came across a blank page of checks for AAA Pool Supply and Maintenance. In 1966, I worked for a pool company as a “go for.” I learned how not to treat a customer and how to pad a bill. I also learned the importance of being first in the yellow pages.  Mr. P had named his company after a fictious daughter, ANDREA’S POOL SUPPLY AND MAINTENANCE, placing him firmly in the yellow pages number ONE Pool Supply.  In 1967, I opened AAA (always above my competition).

During my first year in business, suppliers did not want to deal with me.  By my second year in business, they were anxious to serve me.  So how does a 16-year-old run a pool company?  Being creative was the answer.

If the pump quit working. I would take it to “my shop.”  The company I took it to would supply me with a quote for repairs vs. a new motor.  I would tack on my profit and install the new or repaired motor.

If there was a water quality issue, I would take a sample to the city water works.  After claiming that it was water from my tap a few times, the personnel at the city water works realized what I was doing.  They thought that a 16-year-old running his own company was awesome and continued to train me in water management.

My car (back seat removed) was my van allowing me to deliver chemicals to the customer and I spoiled my customers. Most repairs were done within 48 hours. I always made time to enjoy my summer.

AAA actually played a major role in the development of LZFTC. The premise of available when you needed me, and the quality and variety of service, served my patients well.  The most vital lesson of all I delivered was that no one knows everything.  When you don’t know the answer, find it. Don’t resort to deception and bullshit. When I started with “Andrea’s”, my teacher was the king of b.s. When I opened AAA, I used a moderate amount b.s. to cover what I didn’t know while I concentrated on delivering a quality product.

By the time I opened LZFTC, I had my formula for success worked out in detail.  I was going to be open seven days a week and see patients on a first come first served basis.  I would give them all the time they needed.  It worked!  The attorney had convinced Renee and I that we would need a $300,000 line of credit to handle our first year’s losses. The hospital and local docs also expected that I would fail.  Sorry guys, we never borrowed any money as we were profitable from day one.

NOT AGAIN

I needed a good hard kick in the butt to get me to write again and nothing kicks you in the butt harder than flying into Dallas’s International Airport. Yes. Once again, I was placed on their wheelchair and left to rot in a sparsely populated, out-of-the-way hallway somewhere in the customs building.

This time was different. I had bought a small, lightweight electric wheelchair so that I could avoid dealing with the airport pushers. It worked well in Charlotte airport and I assumed my problems were over. On arrival in Dallas,   I waited on the jet bridge (as  I was accustomed to doing) when I was informed that I would have to walk off the jet bridge and down to the runway level to retrieve my chair; and, of course, they would gladly provide a ride on an airport wheelchair for free.  That’s when it all began.  Deja vu!  I was taken to the dumping ground once again.  Only this time, there were only 6 of us, everyone else other than one pusher had gone.

The big question was when would help arrive. The answer was obvious, no one knew.  I figured that since we were in the US Customs facility that there would be hidden cameras and microphones so I started yelling for help. The ground crew simply shut the doors, making matters worse.  Lucky for us, the pilot and flight crew had to pass through our cell and became incensed at our situation and finally got it resolved.

One major difference this time was the flight crew.  With one exception, they were fantastic.  As we took off, the pilot announced that it was against TSA rules to use the bathroom in any compartment other than the one you were sitting in.  It seems that using the closest bathroom to you added some sort of risk if you were not assigned to that bathroom.  Are people sitting in coach more likely to be terrorists than those in first class?  Are they more likely to carry disease? One of the flight crew took it upon himself to enforce “the law!”

I asked the captain if he had read this section of TSA “official policy”. He hadn’t.  He did admit that there were exceptions to the rule, one of which was for handicapped individuals with gait disturbances.  By the way, the problem getting my wheelchair was also blamed on the TSA. Dealing with the Dallas airport reminds me of playing hot potato. In this case, I was the potato. Its time to stop playing games with the handicapped and fix the problems that exist.

Your joke of the day: A German man visits America for holiday. The TSA officer asks: “Occupation?”
The man says: “No, only holiday


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