I don't know about everyone else, but when I hear the name Townsend in Tuscaloosa, I automatically think about cars. For many, Townsend Honda or Nissan comes to mind; but for me, it's Townsend Ford and "kindness." Here's why:

My grandfather retired from Ford after working 30 years in a Chicago plant. Therefore, I have a sense of loyalty to the company that allowed him to provide for his family. However, I did purchase a few other vehicles before buying my first Ford.  One night, while driving my Ford Edge, my sister, our friend, my daughter, and I stopped for dinner and happened to sit near a nice older couple.  They kept looking in the direction of our table, and admittedly, I was a bit uncomfortable at first. Eventually, I realized they were smiling at my daughter, and they soon struck up a conversation.

As he stuck out his hand, the gentleman said, "Nice to meet you.  I'm Charlie Townsend."

I know he had to see the look of shock and confusion on my face as I smiled and said, "THE Charlie Townsend?"

"I guess so," he said, laughing.  Then, his wife said, "Feel free to come by and see us, or are you already driving one of our vehicles?"  She laughed, as if it was a joke and seemed a bit surprised herself as I replied, "As a matter of fact, I AM! I purchased a Ford Edge from you guys."  We talked a bit more, got our food, ate, and as they were leaving, Mrs. Townsend came to our table, kissed my daughter, and told me to take care of my precious child.

So, when I decided to purchase another vehicle, of course I paid Townsend Ford a visit.  I told my salesman that it was the Townsends themselves that earned my loyalty to that particular dealership.  The message was passed, and I purchased my next vehicle from Townsend Ford.

Just over a week ago, I went to get breakfast.  I ordered it to go, and as I was walking out, two Caucasian gentlemen ahead of me held both sets of doors open for me to walk out.  However, I saw an older couple getting ready to walk in. So, I stood aside and let the gentlemen hold the doors for THEM instead.  I was super surprised when they continued to hold the doors. I know I had to give the biggest smile ever as I said, "THANK YOU!!!" I was just shocked, honestly.  Then, he said, "Come on now! What did you think? That I was just going to let it go after them?"  The amazing thing is that the other gentleman continued to hold THAT door, too.  And you KNOW I was smiling with the biggest smile ever as I thanked him, too.

Then, he says, "What are you driving? I'll open your car door for you."  I told him that it wouldn't be necessary, but I appreciated the gesture.  As I pulled out of my parking spot, (being my curious self) I glanced at the license plates on the vehicles they were getting into, thinking there was no way they were from here. I saw a dealer plate on one vehicle and a Townsend Ford plate on the other. Then, it dawned on me that the little boys with them were wearing Holy Spirit t-shirts.

You know, it's one thing to walk onto a car lot and receive the best customer service because they're trying to earn your business. It's another thing when people do things for me, knowing I'll send them more business.  But it's something entirely different when you encounter people who are genuinely nice, with no ulterior motives. The Townsends don't know me from the next person.  My second known encounter with the family away from the dealership, the gentlemen didn't even introduce themselves, but two things are certain: 1) Mr. Charlie Townsend left a legacy that is continuing to be carried, and 2) You never know who your smallest action might bless or how they might bless you in return. So, it pays to be kind.