Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This question is asked by almost everyone I encounter at my place of employment, HENDRICK TOYOTA.

The second question I get is "How long do you plan to work?"

Third question is "Why so many hours?

All of these questions are asked because of my age. I'll try to answer in the best way without sounding too smug.

To answer the first, "Because I enjoy what I'm doing and I work for a great company." They treat me well and help me when necessary. If it's very cold, one of our great porters will go bring up a car for me. In other words when I do need help, it's available. I try not to take advantage, hoping that my age won't put me into a unwanted bracket.

I remember when I was going around to different dealerships looking for a sales position, even after great presentations, I thought, nobody wanted to hire me. My daughters, after looking at my resume, told me to eliminate the date of my army discharge (1956) and just put in Honorably Discharged. I did just that and was hired very soon after the change.

After figuring my age they most likely thought that I would take too many sick days, not show up or be late. In two and a half years, none of that has happened except for the time I took off for my knee replacement surgery, and even then, I came back two weeks too early.

The next answer as to how long do I plan on working, as long as I can and my health will allow.

The long hours are just part of the auto sales business. If you're not there, your chances of catching a walk in customer are zilch, zero, none.

Being in some sort of sales my adult life and always thinking, no, believing, that I was pretty good, I've come to the conclusion that the car business is one of a kind.

Certainly you must know your product and win the confidence of your customer but in this business it goes a little further before they sign on the dotted line.

I enjoy meeting new people and I immediately try to get them to be at ease while at my desk. Making them smile is the fastest way for them to relax. Once that's accomplished the Shapiro that you all know, goes to work. I naturally, do not sell everyone but I do make a lot of friends. It hurts a little when one of those "friends" thinks enough of me to call and tell me they "Bought Elsewhere," ouch, that really sucks, but I thank them for calling and coming in.

However, I must say that some of those that I've lost have actually recommended me to others in the market.

December, the last month of the year. "Move The Metal" is our motto and I believe this month we will accomplish this task. There is no reason that anyone looking for a car or truck this month can find a reason not to buy unless of course, they don't like me, how is that possible?

To both of my blog readers, have a healthy and happy holiday.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Two weeks ago I had knee replacement surgery. The surgeon that performed the surgery is Dr. Jeffrey Salin of the Kansas City Bone &
 Joint group. Surgery was done at Menorah Medical Center. The surgery was successful and the staff at Menorah was terrific.

During the last two weeks, since the surgery, I've lost ten pounds, mainly because I couldn't eat, nothing tasted right, not good or bad but just not appetizing. I wasn't going hungry but I would take a few bites of a meal and felt full. I couldn't or wouldn't eat more.

My wife and I thought, something must be wrong, my diabetic numbers were up and down, my blood pressure was up and down, I was listless, always tired and when I sat down, I fell asleep. But, my knee was healing, it was better by the day. I did my physical therapy as directed and was able to walk with the aid of a walker. Yes, I was on quite a few meds but didn't realize that the surgery and everything I was taking was playing havoc with my body.

I couldn't sleep in my bed since returning home after the surgery, I had to sleep (quite well in fact) on my recliner in the living room. I've since moved back to the bedroom.

Yesterday I had my first appointment since the surgery with my great Dr., Jeffrey Salin (I highly recommend for knee or hip). We sat for quite awhile as I asked and he answered all my questions. The first being, "when can I take off these long white hose, they're cutting off my circulation and leaving deep grooves in my beautiful legs?"

"But you look so good in them he replied", "however since you're on blood thinners, you can stop wearing them". They were immediately removed with a heavy sigh of relief. Do women still wear these hose?

He also said I could start driving next week and go back to work 1/2 days the following week, all good news, two weeks before my scheduled return. "Ron, you're doing well, just be careful and don't overdue it, remember your body is still recovering from major surgery and it's not as young as you think it is. Still pretty but a few years older."

I'm now using a cane but can walk without it. Have to try and remember, down with the bad, up with the good. I have to give kudos to my wonderful wife Norma, the one who waited on me hand and especially foot, pun intended. She helped me with the on and off the hose, putting up with my lousy eating and tried to keep me up as much as possible, both mentally and physically. I know for a fact, without her help I would still be handicapped.

I'm looking forward to my return to work at Hendrick Toyota in Merriam, so for those of you looking for me, it won't be much longer.

In jest I titled this about weight loss in an attempt to promote reading, it did work, but surgery is not really the right way to lose a few pounds.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


    There are many places in the greater Kansas City area to purchase a vehicle. I'm fortunate to be working for Hendrick Toyota of Merriam, Ks. part of the Hendrick Motor Sports group. Our owner Rick Hendricks is a great owner with unbelievably strong ethics. Treat your customer like you would want to be treated.

    We're not always the cheapest but we are the most competitive. Considering everything we offer with our new cars including Nationwide Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty and Toyota Care. On most of our used Toyotas we have our Certified Warranties. These warranties are sometimes overlooked but it is something every buyer should be aware of, we give more bang for the buck.

    All of the salespeople work together as a team whether it's new or used, we can all help you. If we're busy when you come in, one of the other sales people will gladly jump in to help out.

   Even those clients that have had slight credit problems and have low scores receive the same service as those with scores over 800.

   I'm fairly certain that we probably have the largest inventory of both New and Used cars in the whole state and beyond. If we don't have what you are looking for. we'll find it and get it in here.

    I actually started writing this as a short piece but once I got into it I couldn't resist our Hendrick commercial.

   My past "Ronnie's Speed Shop" business is becoming a conversation with my customers once they sit at my desk and see the old photos and my T shirt which has become a VINTAGE shirt. Would you believe I've been away from that business since the middle 70s and people come bye just to purchase a shirt, unbelievable.

    I still make an attempt to recognize different accents and do a pretty decent job of saying "Hello, Thank You and Goodbye" in about 15 languages. it may not always be right but it almost always creates a smile. It also eases any tensions there might be between us.

    As the Almighty told me many years ago, "Try to make people smile everyday of my life" and I have heeded his command and not only try but actually deliver. Watching a person smile after something I've said, makes my day. If they should also purchase a car, it makes a better day.

    I love working with happy people, it makes my day a lot more fun and at my age, everyday I'm upright is fun.

    In a few weeks my grandson and his wife are expecting their third child and my 7th great grandson. We're also celebrating his 34th and my 78th birthday. Thank goodness my mental and physical age do not co-inside. I feel my age but refuse to act like an old man. I believe I'm blessed that I'm still able to work. I'm moving a little slower these days, but I'm still moving.

   After receiving shots in my back and knee this bionic old fart continues to move. After visiting my 3 main Doctors recently they all said "Keep doing what you're doing" if I could only remember what I'm doing.

    It has to be the problem with my internal CD Rom. I can remember what I did with my Dad over 60 years ago at a particular sporting event but ask me what I had for lunch and it might take awhile.

   My manager just walked bye and asked what I was doing so I guess I better get back to work, till next time.   Ron

Friday, March 8, 2013


It took about three years but after anxiously waiting, my membership was approved.

I'm now an official ROMEO.  The Romeos are an eating and social club made up of mostly retired older men. The letters stand for Retired Old Mens Eating Organization. The membership has over 120 and about an average of 80-90 at each luncheon that is held at 4 or 5 different locations in the South part of town.

They feature a speaker at each luncheon that is usually very informative and entertaining. In fact, I spoke at one of the meetings about a year ago talking about my book "Making Happy". Those that stayed awake enjoyed my presentation.

There are two things that happen when speaking to a group of mostly 75 and over men. After eating a good meal it's hard to stay awake and if the microphone is not set to high, many can't hear what's being said.

It's a fun group, I'm glad I'm now a member after attending as a guest for the past few years, I'm now legitimate.

Because of my work schedule I won't be able to attend everyweek but I'll attempt to make the majority. I hate to miss a good meal and spend time with a bunch of really nice guys.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Thursday morning we woke up early to check on the big storm that was to arrive . At 6am almost on the dot, the snow began falling. I told my wife that I was going to get an early start so I could get to work before the snow had a chance to accumulate.

"Don't go" she said. "Nobody is going to come out on a day like this." Naturally I didn't listen to her and started out. I thought to myself that if I stayed on the main streets I would be OK. By the time I left our apartment complex it was snowing so hard you couldn't see beyond 20 feet in front of you and  the streets had not been spread with salt so driving was already a little slick.

But I thought that if I drove carefully and kept a safe distance between me and the car in front, I would be alright. What I should have done after traveling about a mile, was to turn around but no, I was going to work.

I continued down Metcalf Ave, heading North and traffic was moving slow but steady. Traffic started bunching up about 79th street where there is about a 10 or 15% incline. I hoped I would make it before the light changed but it was not to be. The car in front of me stopped for the light and so did I. That started a morning of Hell. I slipped and spun, put it in reverse, tried everything, but could not make it up that last 15'. Cars were going all around me as I slowly backed up to the last street where I might be able to get a footing.

As I backed down I noticed in my mirror that some of the cars in my same predicament were making a U turn into the southbound lane. The snow by then was coming down at 3" per hour and it was getting very bad. I was able to make the U turn and headed back towards a street where I could turn East and hopefully get to Antioch the next major street.

I was doing great when in front of me was a beast of a hill. If I stopped or hesitated, even for a moment, I knew I was a goner. I put my foot to the pedal and started up the hill only to come up on a man backing out of his driveway. Rather than have an accident, I stopped, and again I was stuck.

Just then, a man by the name of Chris Carter, I hope he doesn't mind if I use his name but he was the first of four angels I encountered that morning. He stopped his truck, walked up to my car and asked how he could help. He first offered to drive me to work when he saw the logo on my jacket. He told me that is cousin also worked there. There was no place to park but right where I was, and that was not a good idea. He had me back down as far as I could go and then physically pushed me with his hands until I was able to get a footing.

I turned into a south street heading back home since it became senseless to keep on trying the impossible. I got as far as 95th St. and got stuck again but who was beside me knocking on my window, but Chris. He had followed me to make sure I would make it. By that time, my windshield wipers had frozen and would not work. I got out of the car to break away the ice that had formed even tho my defrosters were on high. I jumped back in the car as soon as they started working and again Chris with the help of another man helped push me onto 95th. I thanked him again for being such a wonderful guy.

I headed East toward Metcalf and about a 1/2 block before I got there I saw a line of cars stalled on the slight hill and I joined them, I had no place to go.  An Overland Park Street Dept. truck stopped to help me. The drivers name was Deshon. He told me to wait a moment so he could pass in front of me and try to clear enough of a path for my tires to catch. He not only cleared the street for all of us waiting to get over the hump but came back and pushed me with his hands until I was able to get going. So far this morning I had experienced unbelievable help from complete strangers, I was truly touched.

I was almost to the corner of Metcalf and saw that people were getting out of their cars to help the stalled cars, I pulled my old body from the seat and joined them. They were helping me, I had to do my share. I helped to push about four vehicles before my turn came up.

I returned to my car and they got me as far as the light so I could get over the hill and head South, which I did, until I again had to stop for a light and again got stuck. This time, a young man pulls his truck up to my car and offers to help. I told him that I would pay for his help, he answered, "Not necessary." As I got going I slipped a rolled up bill into his coveralls.

My next encounter was at College and Metcalf, I was making progress but again, the car in front of me stopped and bingo, I was stuck again. To try and end this adventure I'll try and speed up the conclusion. Two Overland Park Policemen came up to my window and instructed me on what to do AS THEY PUSHED ME, to get me going. Phew, I said to myself, I just can't believe these people, all these Samaritans, everyone helping everyone. I got stopped one more time before getting home and again two OP Police Officers pushed me back into a lane.

I finally turned into my apartment complex after being on the road five hours, it was already noon as I pulled into my drive and got stuck, but that's where the car stayed all night.

I want to thank all  those very nice people that not only were there to help me but all of those that needed assistance that morning.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


About six months ago I needed a fast lunch so I went to the closest McDonald's and got into the drive thru lane.

I was behind one of those old big Lincoln Continentals that had an older couple occupying the two front seats. I was pretty sure of their age group because all I could see were hands on top of the steering wheel but no heads.

They had pulled up to the trash container that has a long snout pointing toward the customers car window. I watched as the elderly lady driving, leaned out the window and was screaming into the opening of the trash container giving her order.

I started laughing uncontrollably while this "you tube" moment was happening in front of me. I was about to get out of the car to explain that she had to move up to the speakers. Before I could exit my car, her passenger car opened and I presume, her husband, walked around the back of the car to hopefully help his wife. This created another non stop laughing  jag that I was unable to control. I was afraid that I would have a wet spot in my seat at any moment. He was screaming even louder and when no answer was forthcoming, he started yelling into the opening. "Are you closed, is there anybody willing to help us?"

I was finally able to stop laughing enough to get out of my car and try to help. People behind me were honking and screaming to get out of line. As I gave that person the finger while still trying to stifle my smile, I walked up to the old man and explained that he was not at the order speaker. He stood there for a moment staring at me as if I was nuts and then started screaming at his wife, telling her how stupid she was. I tried calming him down but he continued his yelling.

He finally got back in the car and they pulled forward to the speaker. The old lady spoke into the speaker but did not place an order. She said something to the employee and they just pulled out of line and drove off, probably from embarrassment.

When I pulled up to place my order I could hear the employee talking to others asking them what she did wrong because the woman had told her how bad their service was and they were never coming back. I told the employee what happened and I heard the whole place start to laugh.

It was nice that we all had a good laugh at some one else's expense but I thought to myself " I'm almost their age and that could've been me" Na, no way, but you never know.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Many years ago I considered myself a pretty good racquetball player.  I belonged to at least three different clubs so I could play just about any time I chose.

My nickname at the time was "WALLS" because I ran so fast I was constantly crashing into them when charging for a return. It was during those years I did the most damage to both wrists which I'm paying for now. It seems most of the cartilage has since gone elsewhere. These days it's hard to even hold a pen and impossible to turn a door knob.

The story I'm about to tell happened when a friend invited me to play at the Jewish Community Center. Although it was open to all not only those who are Jewish. They had 4 or 5 courts available for members to reserve for one hour sessions and I took advantage when someone invited me to play, I absolutely loved the game and was in pretty good shape at the time. Win or lose, I always played my hardest since most of my competition were quite a bit younger and maybe a little better coordinated but not necessarily faster.

The friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, was in my age group and a pretty even match. We were both playing fairly well when all of a sudden we noticed some green spots appearing on the floor. We continued playing but the spots remained, in fact, they seemed to increase.

We finished our game and were taking a slight break before starting the next and we both realized that the floor was now covered with the green marks. It looked like something was actually growing through the floor.

I left the court to summon one of the attendants to show him what was going on. He came in, saw the floor and shook his head, he was dumbfounded, he had never seen anything like this. He did mention that they had recently had the floors redone and had used a new company. Maybe the resurfacing agent they used was creating the problem.

He apologized to us for the inconvenience and sent us to another court so we could continue playing. We moved our stuff into the next court and started playing again,. Ten minutes went bye and lo and behold, up came the spots. We finished our game, reported what was going on to the attendant and headed for the showers. He was now sure that it had to be caused by the new chemical they were using.

In the locker room as we were getting undressed for the showers I noticed my friend's shoes that he had just removed. They were an old pair that he had for years but hadn't worn for quite some time. I noticed that his soles were green, probably from the spots on the floor. On closer inspection we both saw that the soles of his old shoes were coming apart. The fast action, stopping and starting had begun disintegrating . All of the spots were coming from his gym shoes. We were laughing so hard we couldn't stop but we thought we might best forego our shower and get out of there, which we did.

To this day, some 15 or so years later, whenever we see each other, the vision returns and we break out in laughter.