Project Love Baton Rouge: Day 5 – Toyota Happiness Divas

Left to right: Delinah, Me and Piper (Natalie)
Left to right: Delinah, Me and Piper (Natalie)

This Love Baton Rouge project is opening my eyes to the balance of positive and negative that I see in Baton Rouge. On Day 1, I wrote how grateful I was for the rain and the weather in general here. It is unpredictable, quite apocalyptic and somewhat insane. On Day 3, I wrote about how much I loved my little house on Caddo Street. Ironically, it was the combination of rain and the fact that my car sits outside in the elements that forced me to pay $1K in car repairs this week. It’s not necessary to go into great detail, but I was a little miffed that I don’t have a garage to protect Pursy from the elements and that water fell from the sky like it was coming from a faucet in heaven this weekend. I went from loving it to hating it in 2.5 seconds.

Walking to work yesterday.
Walking to work yesterday.

I was without a car from Monday until this morning. The weather was nice, and it was fun and interesting to do something different.  I enjoyed walking for transportation. Don’t let me mislead you. I don’t want to do it when it’s 120 degrees in July, but it was nice this week.

I took my car to All Star Toyota on Monday because I had such a great experience with them the last time. Piper, the Assistant Service Manager, made my car repair experience almost pleasurable. I say almost because car repairs are never pleasurable for me. I hate spending the money on something that I can’t wear home, and I honestly am usually pretty traumatized by the whole event because I never know what is really needed and what is “upselling” or downright dishonesty. I come away angry, emotionally bruised and poorer all at the same time.

My “walking to work” kit.

I don’t even remember what I had repaired the last time, but Piper kept me informed, listened to me when I got a little edgy and talked to me like I was okay even though I was not enjoying the experience. She made sure that the shuttle followed through for  me, and she kept me informed at every step of the way. The service was so good that I raved about her when they called for a review. So, I returned this week when my brake lights wouldn’t turn off.

This time, my Service Advisor was Delinah. I never could figure out how to spell her name, and, at first, I kept calling her Helena. But, she bent over backwards to make sure I knew I was a valued customer, too. The shuttle driver Anita was amazing. She was nice and talkative and made efforts to ask me questions about myself.

This repair was a little more challenging for me. As time went on, more was discovered, and, when they finally determined that it was a leak in the windshield seal that had caused the short in my stop light relay, I was really upset. My windshield had to be replaced with no help from the insurance company because it wasn’t cracked. I also had to wait on parts for two days. AND I had to pay for the repair to the stop light relay. I also had to have some maintenance work done and my oil changed. Oh yeah… and did I mention it was Monday?


This is all normal stuff, and I understood it, but when I started realizing how much this was going to cost, my emotions started slipsiding down a slippery slope. But, Delinah totally understood and called me a couple of times each day. She apologized for the parts delay and meant it. She was very professional but took care of my personal needs by handling me with respect and understanding. She even played go-between with the windshield repair folks to make sure they found my car. The technician ran water over my car for an hour to make sure that the windshield was really repaired. I felt like they really cared that they got it right.


I don’t want to say that these Toyota Happiness Divas were great because they were female. But I can say that in 35 years of owning a car, I have never felt so satisfied with service that I wanted to rave about it. And it’s happened twice consecutively… with two females. Perhaps it’s just great management at this dealership, and I’d experience it with any one of their service professionals. I don’t know. But, I do know that today I love Baton Rouge because I felt like I was treated like an important customer in a situation where I have often walked away in tears.

As I was driving home tonight, I was writing this blog in my head. I stopped at a traffic light, and, in synchronicity, I saw this tag in front of me:


I giggled a little because the whole thing was kind of a fun experience. It would have been more fun if they’d have said, “You are so beautiful, fun, vivacious and smart that we’d like to give you this repair for free just to keep you as a customer.” But, they didn’t … and it was fun anyway. Thank you Piper and Delinah (and Anita an my anonymous technician). You made my week.

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