from our great customers

Nov 2007
We wanted to thank you for your quick and friendly service. You save our vacation and we are really grateful!

Thanks again,
Robert & Betty MacArthur

Carl & Staff at ARI
Feb 2008
Thank you for helping my son with his truck. You all are very helpful and just a bunch of great guys. Just wanted to say thank you and would recommend ya’ll to anyone.

Again thanks and hope you all have a blessed year.

Donna Ellington

Dear Jake and Carl,

On Monday (Columbus Day) we broke down and were towed in to your place to have a new water pump put on our Camry! We just want to thank you all so much for your courteous and prompt service and your “expert” care and repair! We made it home safe and sound!

One of my favorite scriptures is from Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, learn not on thine own understanding…in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”. When we broke down Monday, I didn’t understand why the Lord threw that KINK in our plans, but He knew why. Maybe it was just so we could have met nice people like you all who cared so well for our physical needs. Our “paths” didn’t cross by happenstance. It is so wonderful to have a Heavenly Father whose care we are in as we walk through this life on earth and to know that “all things work together for our good.” (1st Thess. 5:18). You are all certainly ministered to us on Monday. Thank you again for the kindness extended to us. May God bless you during the coming days.


Tom & Debbie Mainor (John 3:16)

Hi Carl, Jake and all who helped get me back to Atlanta at ARI!

Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you squeezing me in. I know you don’t normally do BMW’s and how busy you are so to go out of your way for me was very kind. Not sure you find much of that type of service in Atlanta.

I got back in time to make my show and the BMC is running great!

Thanks again,
Julie Mansfield

Fine southern hospitality

To the Editor:
We spend a month in Helen every summer and love every minute of it.

This year, however, my transmission went out the day before we were leaving. I contacted Jake Carlton at RI auto repair and managed to get my limping car there.

Jake spent at least an hour trying to arrange for towing, calling Acura in both Miami and Georgia, and helping me in any way he could. I can’t express how much his help meant to me.

Living in a large city, this quality of service is no easy to come by. My appreciation is beyond expression. Thank you, Jake and Carl.

Tina Amos
Palmetto Bay, Fla.

If you’re gonna break down, do it at Starbucks

Forget “American Idol” Auditions. I’m going to try out for an Enterprise Rent-A-Car commercial. I had my “reality” audition a couple of weeks ago when I stopped at Starbucks in commerce while en route to Jekyll Island to meet up with White County Middle School’s eighth grade for its annual science/Georgia studies field trip.

I had decided to take Hwy. 441 to avoid Atlanta rush hour traffic at the suggestion of my friend and co-worker Denise Dorsey (thank you Denise – the reason for thanks emerges in the next couple of paragraphs). When I saw the Starbucks sign along 441, I decided to stop for tea to fuel my drive.

I wheeled the car into the parking lot and began to turn it into a parking spot. Crunk, bang, rattle, rattle, then nothing. Engine running, no gears grabbing. I pushed the gas. Engine revs; the car sits still. I shifted to low; still nothing.

“OK,” I thought. “This car’s not going anywhere.”

Due to a slight incline in the parking lot, I was able to get the car to roll backwards into a parking spot. I turned off the engine and called ARI in Cleveland.

“Carl, my car just broke down. I’m in Commerce. It won’t go. I HAVE to get to Jekyll Island. The engine runs , but when I put it in gear, it just sits there, like it’s in neutral.”

We discuss whether it could be transmission, drive shaft, or CV joints – all of which sound costly and impossible to fix in enough time for me to get to Jekyll, especially given that I’m about 49 minutes from home. I tell Carl I’ll call him back when I figured out what to do.

I decide to go for the cup of tea while I wait and as I cross the parking lot to Starbucks I consider renting a car. After all, I need to get to Jekyll. By the sounds of it, this car repair will not be a quick fix.

By the time I arrive at the counter, I’ve decided. I explain my situation and the manager agrees to let me leave my ‘car’ in the parking lot for the next four to five days, lend me a phone book to look up rental agencies, and lets me use the phone so I don’t use cell phone minutes.

After a couple of misses, I reach enterprise Rent-A-Car.

“This is Topher Casteel; how may I help you?”

I explain my situation, and within minutes Topher reserved a car for me and sent an agency representative to pick me up. For the next 10 minutes, I drank my tea, wait in the comfort of Starbucks, and consider what just happened.

My car broke down, effectively stranding me about an hour from home and preventing my drive to Jekyll. I could choose to be upset and angry – but to what end? How would that remedy an already bad situation? I decided, instead, to count my blessings: I broke down at a Starbucks. I could drink tea in comfy surroundings while I pondered the problem and waited for its resolution (how lucky was that – can you imagine this story on Interstate 85?). Carl at ARI took the time to explain what probably was wrong with the car, even given my hit-and-miss description, which helped me define my options. Starbucks agreed to let me leave my car, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car would soon have me back on my way. Despite a broken car, everything was, for me the most part, good. I was still going to make it to Jekyll and live up to my obligation to my students and my fellow teachers, and I would be able to take care of my broken car “tomorrow”.

As I drove my rental car which, ironically, was a Ford Taurus (I drive a Ford Contour that Jake at ARI affectionately calls the Ford Detour), I used my cell phone to arrange towing and evaluation. Thanks to Ramey Motors which towed the car, and to ARI, which fixed the broken drive shaft, I had my car back on the road within the week.

Thanks, also, to Renee Mullis, Scott Stephens and Janice Proctor for keeping watch over my group of students till I arrived, and, thank you, Tina Vandiver, for calling me to check up on my travel status and the rest of the eighth grade teachers for humoring me about my escapade.

These are the benefits of living in a small town where your neighbors are your family.

And as far as corporations go, Hertz Rent A Car may be No. 1 and Avis may Try Harder, but Enterprise is on your side.

Catherine Gibbs is a contributing writer for the White County News.