My latest post exposed the shocking honesty of a couple in Provo who went out of their way to contact me and let me know that we had accidentally deposited money in their account instead of one of my sons' account. Two days later, someone's honesty and kindness right here in Appleton rescued me from even greater expense, as I report on my local blog about Appleton.

The night before my third son returned from his mission in Taiwan, we were so excited about his return that it felt a little like Christmas Eve. At the end of a long day, I opened the kitchen door and pushed a button to close the garage door. I normally stand there and make sure it goes down OK--we've had trouble with that door before and I'm usually paranoid about it hitting something on the way down--but not tonight. I was feeling confident, bubbly, and in a hurry to wrap up and get to sleep. Moments after I closed the door and walked away, I heard a horrible crushing sound coming from the garage, and then silence. Gasp.

I opened the kitchen door again and looked out to see the wide garage door pressing down on the back of my recently purchased car--I had left it slightly under the garage door when I pulled in, intending to move it all the way in later, because a couple bins of apples were in the way from our apple harvest. The opener that moves the garage door had continued pressing down so hard that the top panel of the door had been ripped open by a metal bracket that kept moving into the door. Another panel was warped. The iron beam that holds the garage door opener looked highly bent. I figured everything was ruined and needed to be replaced, and guessed that it would cost $2000 or so, maybe even $3000. I was mostly worried about the car, but once I got the garage door released from its jammed position, I saw that it was unscratched, amazingly. Thank goodness for shocks. But the door was ruined due to my foolishness.

I went to sleep discouraged, and made a call the next morning after Googling for local garage door services.

Many people would have billed me for over $2000 to repair the door. The main door would need to be replaced, and since the new door would no longer match the discontinued style of our second small garage door, they'd encourage us to replace both at the same time, along with one or two openers (we only have one). But I was so fortunate to run into the good man that I ended up calling somewhat at random. He came over the next day and was extremely helpful in diagnosing the problem. Then came a big surprise: he had a customer with the same kind of doors who was getting rid of them, and he could salvage two panels from their door to replace the two damaged panels on mine. Same color, same style. Wow. I wouldn't need one or two whole new doors at all. Even more shocking, he said he wouldn't charge me for those panels. He also showed me how to pick up another part I needed to be replaced to save me money versus having him order it (he started with showing me how I might be able to repair the part myself, but my efforts and tools weren't good enough - the part only cost $38).

He was a delightful expert who, when he returned a couple of days later with the salvaged parts, spent time teaching me things about the doors and their operation and maintenance, and pointed out the problems that we had had from inadequate service in the past. He spent over two hours doing the repair and tuning everything up, including adjusting settings on the opener so next time the door will retreat with even a light resistance instead of self-destructing if something is in the way.

When he was done, I expected a hefty bill. I didn't have an estimate in writing and knew he could charge me almost anything at this point for his work. Would it be $500? $600? Still an amazing bargain over what it could have been, and I would not have objected, especially since I liked him. But I was in shock when he handed me his bill. He only charged me for 90 minutes of labor: a total of $65, with tax. (I pushed back and, drawing upon my well-honed negotiation skills, got him to accept a more appropriate amount.) My stupid accident ended up costing me less than 1/10 of what I had expected. Again, I'm the recipient of another person's integrity--twice in one week, both saving me a wad of cash at a time when we actually need it, given some of the demands we are facing (not to mention facing the largest tax increase in history in a couple of months!).

Can you imagine what a productive society this would be if everyone we worked with and elected had that kind of integrity? Can you imagine a world where we weren't surprised and delighted by honesty, but encountered it constantly? That kind of community is what we call Zion--an elusive goal, but one worth striving for.
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