This week I met an “everyday hero”. His name is Daniel, and he is a plumber. When we bought our current house, I knew that our hot water heater was about twenty-one years old. My hope was that it would die while we had the one-year home warranty that came with our home purchase. Of course, that didn’t happen! Our home warranty expired last week, and I didn’t want to pay to renew it. It has been my plan that as soon as the warranty expired that we would buy a new hot water heater. When hot water heaters go out it is possible for there to be some flooding, which I wanted to avoid. It is easy to have a plan, but it’s not always easy to make it happen! I looked on-line to find a plumber, and that is how I found Daniel.
Daniel is the company owner, and one of the plumbers. Without paying for any advertising beyond their website, Daniel’s company stays busy to capacity. They count on word-of-mouth advertising. How helpful is it to know a good plumber?
Our plan was to get a new water heater, have a new kitchen water faucet installed, and have a circulator installed on the hot water heater to make it quicker to get hot water in the kitchen. Our first Friday appointment didn’t work out. Daniel called to say that they were running late. About an hour later he called to say that his brother, who is his helper, seriously cut his hand. They were on their way to get medical attention. Later his office (it turned out to be his wife) called to say that they would have to reschedule. The first time that I was available was the next Friday. I wondered if I had chosen the right plumber.
This last Friday is when all of the plumbing action happened. When I asked about Daniel’s brother, I found out that he received twelve stitches and was still off work. Daniel commented on how dirty plumbers get their hands, and he didn’t want his brother to take the risk of getting an infection. I was impressed by how much Daniel cared about his brother. He didn’t complain at all about his helper not being able to work.
Daniel carefully explained our options for a new hot water heater, and it was installed without any problems. I was surprised, though, by how much trouble our new kitchen faucet created. My wife bought the faucet in advance, so that it would be ready to be installed. Daniel had told us that many plumbers refuse to work on polybutylene pipes, which we have. Polybutylene is more difficult to work with and increases the chances of leaks. It appeared to me that the faucet took more time to install than the hot water heater did. Once the faucet was installed, it wouldn’t work. The plastic check valve that came with the faucet wasn’t working. Daniel got it to work, and then reviewed our bill with us. Although he ended up spending over five hours at our house, he refused to charge us for all his time. He also didn’t charge us for some parts that he had in his van, which saved us some money. Our faucet caused Daniel to be late for his next job, but he never complained. Then he found that our polybutylene pipe was leaking. How would most people respond?
Daniel didn’t even look flustered by the leaking polybutylene pipe. He went to the parts store and got some new parts to fix it. He then told me his plan if this solution didn’t work. I tried to pay him for the parts and his extra time, but he wouldn’t accept my offer. The faucet was working well when Daniel left, with no leaks. In less than a hour after Daniel left, the check valve failed. No water would come out of the faucet. When I called he was having dinner with his family. He stayed calm and told me that after dinner he would look to see if he had a check valve that would work. He didn’t want to call too late and said that he would call in the morning.
When Daniel called the next morning, he said that the check valve that he had wouldn’t fit. He wanted to call his parts store to see if they had one; but was ninety-five percent sure that they wouldn’t have one. I would need to go back to the big-box store where we bought the faucet to see if they would pull the part out of another box. When Daniel called back, he confirmed that the parts store didn’t have the part, then surprised me by saying that he was at the big-box store. He asked me to send a picture of the box and our receipt. A little while later he called again to say that he had the part and would be by that afternoon (now Saturday) to install it. He was good on his word, and still refused to take any additional payment. The faucet now works great!
This week I’m thankful for “everyday heroes” like Daniel. These heroes go extra miles on a regular basis to show their love to people in the midst of their normal week. The exciting thing is that each of us have opportunities to be “everyday heroes” during our weeks! Actions that might seem “normal” to us, can have a great impact on other people and our society. Let’s join the ranks of being a “hero”!
Your brother on the journey, Mark
Further thoughts: Daniel used our bathroom while he was at our house, and I’m guessing saw that our commode seat needed replacing. He told us that he had one in his van that was new that a customer didn’t like and had him replace it. He asked if we wanted it, then installed it. Daniel also told me that over the holidays someone always has an emergency with their hot water heater going out. He said that the plumbing supply store charges an extra hundred dollars just to open the store, and that this cost has to be passed on to the customer. Because of this, Daniel buys two hot water heaters that he keeps in stock over the holidays, just in case someone needs one.
One more thought: I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! This is a great time to review the blessings in our lives. Each of us has so many. It’s a good time to be grateful for all these blessings!