It’s not that today’s time on the NADA exhibit floor wasn’t noteworthy. Rather, it’s because something far more personal and profound occurred elsewhere—at the Baccarat Bar at the Bellagio Hotel. Something that brought tears to my eyes, and that I’ll treasure forever.
I had gone to the Baccarat Bar to attend the Germain Motor Company’s annual vendor appreciation party. Dealer Steve Germain started the event in 2011. He thought it was “B.S.” that dealers only attended parties thrown by vendors. He wanted to give back. He wanted to demonstrate his gratitude for vendors who “give more than they get,” and helped the Germain team build a disciplined, process-focused business to drive future growth and success.
Steve explained all this at the event, and then he noted that he, his family and his team wanted to recognize someone special, and present the Germain Family Vendor Appreciation Award.
“This is a trophy you get because you give us results,” Steve says.
Then he called my name and asked me to come forward.
“Dale’s tireless work has been critical to Germain’s continued growth,” Steve told the group. “We are grateful for his friendship and committed partnership to our family and business.”
I was completely surprised and totally floored. I can probably count the times in my life when I’ve been truly surprised on one hand. I can typically sense when someone’s being coy or evasive to keep a secret or, as a blind guy, when someone’s moved the furniture in a familiar room.
Well, the Germains got me. I now have to add a second hand to tally my life’s true surprises. The only words I could muster in the moment were, “Really? Me?”
Steve presented the trophy. His son Zach gave me a “G” lapel pin. His son Austin presented a pen he custom-made himself. Their gifts are really their way of saying “you’re part of the family.”
I left the event thinking I’m the most blessed man on the planet. It’s pretty special that my work, and my passion for the business, results in deep, enduring friendships with first-class families like the Germains. The recognition from the Germains underscores how so much of the car business boils down to people, and shared commitment and trust.
My deepest, and most sincere thanks to the Germain family and organization for this once-in-a-lifetime honor. It means more to me than I can express.
I’m still on Cloud Nine. I’m inspired for another day at NADA. See you on the floor.
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