South Dakota Auto Glass Shop Rep Comes to Customer's Rescue

August 24, 2011

Auralee Nickels

An elderly South Dakota consumer in need of a windshield replacement got more than he bargained for when he called the Glass Doctor in Rapid City, S.D., recently.

According to Auralee Nickels, an inside sales representative for the shop, the customer called the company on August 11 and she quickly noticed something was abnormal about the call.

"He called in and even right from the start he kind of sounded confused and I don't think he'd made any other phone calls for the day," recalls Nickels. "He was trying to put together a sentence and he was frustrated with himself."

Nickels continued chatting with the gentleman, who has not been identified, as she assisted him, but when she asked for his address, he wasn't able to provide it.

"He was scared—you could sense it in his voice. He told me his wife had passed away a couple years ago," she says. "By the time we ended the phone call he couldn't put a sentence together."

Before they even hung up, Nickels says she had located a number for the local sheriff's department and called the department immediately.

"We finished the conversation and I didn't want to alarm him, I told him not to worry about it and that I'd give him a call back," she says. "We're very rural out here, so I called the fire department up in Hill City [S.D.] where he's from and I told them I only had his phone number from the caller ID and the number from his house. One of the officials recognized it from when his wife passed away."

Rescue officials went to the house and transported him to the hospital.

"From what I understand the sheriff's office said he was having a stroke and he didn't understand how they'd got to him," recalls Nickels.

The next day, Nickels spent her lunch hour visiting the patient. "I went to see him and he said 'you're the one,'" she recalls fondly.

Once the patient/customer was released from the hospital, he ended up visiting Nickels' company for the windshield replacement that originally spurred his call.

While Nickels jokes that the incident with the customer was her "Oprah moment," she is humble about the assistance she provided.

"I would only hope that if someone had one of my family members on the phone that they would know—you could just tell that something was wrong," she says. "You could hear the frustration in his voice."

Nickels believes the incident was more than just a coincidence.

"I'm not really religious or anything, but something made him call me," she says.

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