Just a regular guy
At the Michelin Americas Small Tires meeting held earlier this year in Phoenix, MAST dealers heard a ``Top-10'' list presented by Barry Downs, vice president for the tire maker's Western U.S. region.
High on the list was being able to call Michelin Chairman and CEO Edouard M. Michelin ``Eddie,'' who, by the way, attended the event. Lest attendees wonder why the Top 10 only contained eight items, Mr. Downs joked: ``Because it was discounted 20 percent, according to tire industry policy.''
Dealers also got a flavor for just how ``regular'' a guy ``Eddie'' can be. Seems he and his family were driving in France when they got a flat tire on their van, which was sporting the tire maker's PAX run-flat tire/wheel system. So he stopped at the nearest garage, rolled up his sleeves and helped a local mechanic fix the flat with the available tools.
The guy definitely has a future in the tire biz, n'est-ce pas?
Tribute to a real `King'
We've got another Elvis sighting to report, this one at the trade show held in Hyannis Port, Mass., April 20-22 by the New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA).
The King-looking more svelte than usual and with nary a chicken leg or peanut butter sandwich anywhere within his grasp-appeared at the Las Vegas-themed booth of Mohawk Rubber Sales of New England, which is based in Hingham, Mass. Upon closer scrutiny, it wasn't Elvis at all, but rather Pat McGeoghegan, who has operated the company since 1991.
During the show, NETSA President Bob Katz (at left in photo above) presented Elvis, er, Pat with the group's annual ``President's Award,'' calling him a generous supporter of the association. Pat, he continued, is a ``fine example of a person that carries himself with the utmost of righteousness and dignity, not only in the business world but throughout all aspects of his life.''
Fitting words indeed. Elvis may have left the building, but at least we now know where he's hiding out.
You really can't get any better?
Sometimes even the most routine maintenance gig can turn into an auto service nightmare.
Take poor Alom Khan, 25, who drove his Honda Accord, which had a flat tire, to a shop operated by the United Kingdom's Kwik-Fit Holdings P.L.C. and got a lot more than he bargained for.
A story in News Group Newspapers Ltd.'s The Sun reported that a ``dozy mechanic'' wrecked the car. Mr. Khan, who lives in Bow, East London, drove to the Kwik-Fit outlet in nearby Whitechapel, where the mechanic started the car after telling him the exhaust also needed looking at.
Then a ``stunned'' Mr. Khan watched in horror as the tech put the car in reverse and set off on a trail of accidental mayhem. The Accord flew backwards, smashing the open driver's door into a metal pole before, according to the story, it hurtled 20 yards into a wall. The result: the door was mangled and the wing (fender) and boot (trunk) were dented.
``All I wanted was a fresh tire, but the car ended up looking like an old banger!'' lamented Mr. Khan, a pharmacist. Apparently the mechanic went to put his foot on the brake but instead hit the gas pedal.
``It's lucky I was standing to the side of the car or it could have killed me,'' he added.
Kwik-Fit, which was acquired by Ford Motor Co. a couple of years ago, gave the hapless motorist the use of a courtesy car while the insurance people dealt with the damage. The dealership's area manager, Rafiq Patel, offered an explanation for the incident: ``Accidents happen. Everything is in hand.''
Maybe it's germane to point out that Kwik-Fit's slogan is: "You can't get better than a Kwik-Fit fitter.'' And in a country where ``bangers and mash'' (sausage and potatoes) are a traditional repast, Mr. Khan got a variation out of his little car repair adventure: A banger that was smashed.
This 'n that
Tire art extraordinaire-Earlier this month, a couple saloons in Phoenix held a fund raiser for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization that featured some rather unique art work.
Motorcyclists were invited to attend and ``register'' tire prints from their bikes. For each print collected, motor oil maker Valvoline Co. said it would donate 10 bucks to the cause. (See...even guys and gals on hawgs have a heart.)
Screeeech-It was an astute (unknown) philosopher who said: ``Regular naps prevent old age...especially if you take them while driving.''
Pure wisdom-``Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.''
Good line-During his ``Whad'ya Know'' program on public radio recently, host Michael Feldman uttered the following (and we hesitate to question its veracity): ``I don't believe in intelligent life on other planets. I think they're just like us.''
In Texas, architects gather every year along Galveston's East Beach to work their designing hoochie coochie on piles of sand. Some choose to make social statements.
The 15th annual American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition recently drew some 3,000 architects, designers, engineers, contractors, students and others. They formed 80 teams that had five hours to transform about 10 cubic feet of sand into just about anything-even castles, according to the Associated Press.
One display torn from the headlines featured an upside-down Ford Motor Co. Explorer with a blown tire (ouch-art imitating real life.) The AP story said a bikini-clad woman tried to draw sun-drenched passers-by to B2HK Architecture's booth as she yelled, ``If the gas prices don't kill you, the tires will.'' (Double ouch. How do you recall a sand tire?)