Schwan tech thanked for hospitality
By Josie Gereszek
An Iowa man encountered some vehicle trouble — and what he describes as amazing hospitality — in November in North Dakota.
James Peterson of Des Moines was driving his grandson to an oil field job in Belfield around 4 a.m. Nov. 20 when his Chevrolet Blazer struck something in Interstate 94’s westbound lane, just past the Grant Marsh Bridge. His vehicle was damaged.
“My right front tire was shredded and the wheel was badly bent,” he said. “The lower right part of the front body work was destroyed.”
Peterson called AAA to request roadside assistance.
After a service changed Peterson’s tire, the vehicle was towed to Schwan Buick GMC Cadillac in Mandan, where he said he was met with incredible hospitality.
“Once I got to the dealership, I was instantly the most important person to the assistant manager, Corey Rennich,” Peterson said. “He was genuinely trying to help me resolve my situation. That struck me very well.”
Although Rennich predicted Peterson’s insurance company would consider the vehicle unrepairable, Peterson was determined to drive it back to Des Moines.
After a Schwan technician pulled a metal trim piece away from the damaged tire, a front-end specialist thought Peterson might be able to make the trip after all. Rennich and another technician took the Blazer around the block to make sure it would be safe for Peterson drive. Rennich said the process took as little as 15 minutes after inspection.
Peterson said it was all appreciated, but the best was yet to come. When he asked how much was owed, the response floored him — nothing.
“I was flabbergasted,” Peterson said.
Rennich said he was simply doing his job.
“That’s what I’m supposed to do, you know, help people in that situation,” Rennich said. “Customer service is really the least I can do.”
Rennich warned Peterson of potential wear on the tires due to the vehicle’s condition, so Peterson obtained a truck from a rental agency to accomplish the early-morning drive to Belfield.
That night, Peterson stayed in Bismarck before safely returning to his home in Des Moines. He wrote a letter to Rennich thanking him for his service and forwarded it to General Motors as well as the Bismarck Tribune.
“My wife and I are going to make it a point as soon as we can to get up to North Dakota and take Corey out to dinner or something,” Peterson said. “Just as long as it’s not in these cold winter months.”
Peterson said he won’t forget the experience.
“Reflecting on it, almost everything but the accident itself was a blessing,” he said. “I was so impressed to see how amazing the hospitality of North Dakotans is — at least the ones that I met.”