Our honest neighbor, John. 1

As you know, Missoula Valley Lifestyle magazine is a way for us to show that we are a strong, vibrant, positive, and honest community that works and lives together. With that, I’d like to share something that happened to me recently that makes me proud to call Missoula my home.

A few weeks ago, I took my 2004 BMW into the shop after I found myself on the side of the road—upset and embarrassed. My car’s dash lights suddenly came on and the car stopped accelerating. She limped to the shoulder. When I looked under the hood, I felt as if I were looking into the face of Darth Vader. I didn’t understand what I saw. Nevertheless, I was able to restart the car (even after the Owner’s Manual said not to) and drove it gently to a shop that works on BMWs. FYI, there aren’t many in Missoula that do.

I’m a skeptic particularly when it concerns things I don’t know (i.e., the mechanics of a BMW), so I was a little hesitant as I pulled into the Import Palace on Broadway, a place I’d never been before, and spoke with John, the owner. As we talked, I had two inklings. First, I had little choice. None, really. Second, I felt as though I could trust him as he explained what “might” be wrong with the car.

The Import Palace was very busy. John looked at his schedule and mentioned he was two weeks out according to his appointment book. He knew I needed the car for business and said he’d try to get to it as soon as the parts came in. Within three days, John had called and said my BMW was ready to go. I went down and paid Import Palace and drove it away.

The next day, I was driving back from Flathead Lake and BOOM. The car started overheating and ceased accelerating. I called John at the Import Palace and recounted what happened. The fan had ripped apart, the radiator was punctured, and the car was immobile. He told me to bring it in and he’d take care of it. Red’s Towing towed it to the Import Palace and over the next week I drove around in an Alamo car rental and tried not to think about the costs my car was racking up.

To make a long story short, John ordered a new radiator, a new fan and other new parts to fix it. When John called to tell me the car was ready, I went down there, checkbook in hand. He said, “We could not find any reason why your BMW’s fan blades broke and why it was damaged the second time,” and handed me the bill. “No charge,” it said.

Thank you for your honesty and trustworthiness, John and the Import Palace.