How do you thank someone when they do something selfless on an epic scale? Very publicly.
In early January, I cold-called my favorite Jeep dealership, Fields Jeep (Chrysler, Dodge and Ram, too) to ask for a HUGE favor. Having just launched my Jeep Raffle to benefit my sister-in-law Vicki who suffers from ALS, it occurred to me that the best place to highlight my event would be at a Jeep dealership. After all, if you're looking to purchase a Jeep, where do you go? To a Jeep dealer, of course.
Why was Fields my first call? Because years ago, when my Jeeplust began, I went to a number of Chicagoland Jeep dealerships. Only one stood out in my mind as being above-board and, quite honestly, fun: Fields. Over several Saturdays, I bird-dogged one of Fields salesmen and drove a variety of Wranglers, but I just couldn't make up my mind. Because I loved ALL THE WRANGLERS ON THE LOT!
In the end, the Wrangler I fell in love with sold. And not to me -- Ms. Cantmakeupmydamnmind. It was the gorgeous Sahara Tan Mojave Edition Wrangler with a lizard emblem on the hood, as well as embossed in the leather seats. A year later, I found my Mango Tango Mountain Edition Jeep Wrangler. I've been in love with all things Jeep ever since, except, sadly, the dealership I purchased it from.
That didn't stop Fields from honoring my request to host the Mango Tango Raffle in the Fields showroom on Patriot Boulevard in Glenview, Illinois. Why? I mean, seriously, what was in it for them?
Well, that question was answered the first Saturday Jim Moyer and his amazing sales staff at Fields hosted my Jeep Raffle. They put me front and center on the showroom floor. Yep, first thing any buyers would see when they entered the dealership was the Mango Tango raffle.
While I was setting up, familiarizing myself with the layout of the dealership, I happened upon Gigi Ramis, who operates the awesome snack shop over by the service area. Gigi, like every proud member of the Fields' team, glowed as she showed off The Fields Jeep (and other cars) wall of fame. Yeah, it's true, these people truly glow.
Turns out, it was a no-brainer for Jim Moyer to say yes to hosting my raffle because that's what Fields does. In addition to selling Jeeps to the greater metropolitan Chicagoland area, they're big into community service. BIG. EPIC BIG. Their wall of fame showcases framed picture after picture of charity events Fields has hosted.
Below are just a few examples of the charity events Jim Moyer and his crew have hosted!
In the end, I spent two full Saturdays in my prime position on the Fields showroom floor. And I learned a lot. Not only did I learn from buyer after buyer that many of them were repeat customers, I learned why. Simply put: Fields invests in the community they serve. And the community responds. Loyalty, it seems, is definitely a two-way street with Fields.
It's proof positive that you can be at an all-time low in your life -- watching a family member succumb to a horrific disease like ALS.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It renders its victim paralyzed and unable to speak, unable to scratch their own itch, feed themselves, dress...in short, all the things you and I take for granted. It's been daunting to watch my sister-in-law fight this vicious disease.
Until the moment I walked into Fields Jeep and shook hands with Jim Moyer, this unassuming, charming, warm gentleman, and his equally kind sales team, it's no stretch to say that my 1,000-mile separation from my sister-in-law has left me, at times, feeling very alone in my grief. But it's a feeling that fades away and is replaced by empowerment when surrounded and uplifted by the decency of strangers. In fact, I can truly say these people are no longer strangers.
It started with a cold-call to Jay Sachs, who encouraged me to contact Jim Moyer. In less than twenty-four hours, I had an emphatic, "Yes!" from Jim.
When Jim called, he spent twenty minutes of his day just chatting with me before we landed on the reason for my unsolicited solicitation. I will never forget our first exchange: "I think it's great what you're doing..." I heard a but. I held my breath. I was waiting. The "but" indeed came. "But we just don't think one Saturday is enough." So he offered TWO Saturdays on their showroom floor.
That pretty much sums it up. Jim Moyer just can't do enough for others!
PS: To date, we have sold 200 raffle tickets. That's $20,000. (Of course, $500 of that is a direct result of "Fields family" ticket purchases!) And I'm not done yet. Even when I'm done, I won't be done. I've pledged my support to Jim Moyer and the Fields family to assist in their future charity events. Because it just feels so damn good!
PSS: You know I'll be buying another Jeep someday, right, Jim? Awe, yeah. It's a Jeep thing. And it's a Fields thing. Because I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else!