The day of February 17th, 2014 was just like any other for Richard Benn. Well, not exactly like any other day. He’d just retired after 50 years of service with the same company. Think about that. How many of us have been with the same company for half that long?
Of course Ray Products, where Richard had been a pattern, and tool designer, was having a retirement party for him and he was very honored. Not just that he had been a part of such a great company for a half century, watching it grow, and working for 3 generations of the Ray family. But also that they thought highly enough of him to go all out with a taco truck, plenty of refreshments on hand and his favorite flavor of cake-chocolate.
That day as he and his wife, Cruz headed over to the plant for the celebration, Richard was excited, but a little nervous. He was looking forward to celebrating with his fellow employees, but he wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.
Would they give some kind of speech?
Would they expect him to give some kind of speech?
What Richard didn’t know, is that something remarkable was about to happen. Brian Ray, President of Ray Products, had Richard come up in front of the group. He handed him a small box. Richard opened the box to see the glint of something silver inside. He was a bit confused and when he reached for the object inside he saw that it was a keychain. This was even more puzzling. Richard is a pretty unpretentious guy. In addition to working at the same company for 50 years, he lives a pretty modest life, and owns an old truck with nearly 300 thousand miles on it.
He’s not exactly into flashy things. So the fact that his employer who had known him for so long would get him a silver keychain seemed….a little strange.
And then Dan Sweet, Vice President said, “Richard, why don’t you come on outside and we’ll see if we can put something on that.” Richard was a bit nervous and confused by the whole thing and he had no idea what Dan meant. As they walked out the back door of the shop, things became a lot more clear. There in the middle of the parking lot was a brand new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, with a massive blue bow on the windshield. Richard stopped dead in his tracks.
He laughs while telling the story, “My heart was just pounding. I said, ‘That isn’t for ME is it?’ I turned around to my wife and she just had her hands on both of her cheeks. She couldn’t believe it either. To this day, I still don’t believe.”
Brian who has worked with Richard for many years, was touched by the emotion of it all, “We were so happy for him. He’s done a lot for our company and we wanted to do something unique for him. Something big. He got a huge round of applause from the other employees and there were a few misty eyes in the crowd for sure.”
Dan got the truck from Mark Christopher Chevrolet. Ray Products and Dan have always had a great relationship with us, having gotten 7 vehicles for both personal and business use over the years. When Dan and Brian were talking about what they wanted to do for Richard, they decided to give Mark Christopher a call.
Dan says, “Richard is definitely a General Motors kind of guy and that old Sierra of his has quite a few miles on it. Once we knew we wanted to give him a truck, we called Greg Hess (Sales) at Mark Christopher, and he got together with Nevin (Nevin Cordero-Manager). They thought it was a really cool idea and helped us make it even more special.
It was their idea to drive the truck over and put the bow on it. The hardest part was keeping the whole thing a secret.”
Richard was vacationing in Lake Havasu when we talked to him and we asked him what he thought of the truck, and what his favorite feature was. He thought a minute and said, “I’d have to say the technology stuff; OnStar, the great stereo, Bluetooth. I haven’t figured out how to work everything totally yet, but it’s pretty cool.
I still can’t believe it’s mine”
Mark Christopher Chevrolet loves being a part of big moments in people’s lives, like this one. We’re thrilled that we could make Richard’s retirement so memorable, and we try to make car and truck buying an unforgettable experience for all of our customers.
Congratulations, Richard Benn! You earned it.
And it’s YOURS! We promise.