Speaking Spanish is the single most important thing I have ever done with my life

My driver’s side headlight went out yesterday, which of course sent me into a bit of a tizzy because I thought the fact that it only happened on one side meant some kind of electrical malfunction that I was going to have to invent my own money to pay for. Thankfully, my dad, who is a mechanic, told me that no, it wasn’t a big deal and shouldn’t be too expensive. He recommended that I get the bulbs from an auto parts store and see about having a gas station/garage attendant install them. The bulbs, he said, should be in the neighborhood of about $15 and he said that I should comparison shop to see who would install them the cheapest.

Typically, I am a go to the dealer girl because even though they can be known to be more expensive, I like the peace of mind of knowing that the work is guaranteed. I went to work today and my boss gave me the name of the place where she and her husband take their cars to but, unfortunately, I wouldn’t have enough time to make it over there this afternoon before they closed. Tomorrow they’re not open and both Monday and Tuesday, I have to be at work at 6:30 a.m. (student loan debtors can’t be choosers).

Since the dealership I go to was in the neighborhood of my errands and on my way home, I stopped in to get an estimate, so I’d know what to compare my boss’ guys to. The service rep told me that cars were backed up at the moment but that I could buy the bulbs now and they should be about $15-$18. In my mind, I wanted to spend no more than $50 total for everything, so I thought that sounded reasonable.

When we walked over to the parts department, there were 2 Hispanic men working behind the counter, Julio and Rene. I commented on the music that was playing and how it reminded me of living in Miami which then led to a discussion of Scarface. It was  a nice icebreaker. Julio first told me that the bulb–just one–costs $35.42. Umm….that is not $15!

“Well, let me go check first. I can give you 10% off.”
“Okay…” I said, thinking, that’s really not much once you apply sales tax but fine, let him find them–that doesn’t mean I have to buy them. (I don’t always think in rhyme.)

When he came back and showed them to me, somehow the conversation turned to my bilingual ability and how I learned Spanish and how I felt about salsa (the music & dance, not the condiment) and then he told me that he could give me both bulbs for $28.43.


I still didn’t know where I was going to get them installed and when, since the service rep had told me that it would take about 30 mins-1hr if I wanted to have it done there, but at least I had them. I went to leave and said my despedidas en español and Rene, who hadn’t been around earlier to hear that I spoke Spanish, told me, “Regresa y cambiamos tus bombillos.
Come back and we’ll change your bulbs.

“Oh, well the service guy already told me that it was backed up so–”
“No, he’ll change them for you. A freebie.” Julio said.
“What? Really??”
“Yes! Because you are such a great person and you light up the room.”
Me van a hacer llorar.” You guys are going to make me cry.
“It’s true! Go get your car and I’ll do it for you.”

So I did and he did and the whole thing took 5 minutes.  😀

I think I’ll bring them some cupcakes next week.

About J.

A former twentysomething with a head full of curls and heart full of questions wondering: when we get to nirvana, will there be food?
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2 Responses to Speaking Spanish is the single most important thing I have ever done with my life

  1. Jamie Kornberg Phillips says:

    That WAS a great story and I am sorry I couldn’t listen to it the other day with both kids screaming in the background.
    You should bring them cupcakes, and not some gluten, dairy, flavor free kind but some REAL ones with hand whipped frosting.
    Good guys!!!

  2. Pingback: “You should bring them cupcakes, and not some gluten, dairy, flavor free kind but some REAL ones with hand whipped frosting.” | Footsteps On Concrete

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