By Tom Nuttall, Brand Manager, Grange Swindon
I overheard Mary-Ann on the phone to a customer explaining that we don’t lend out cars for special occasions and when she put the phone down I asked what the call was about.
Mrs Leat had arranged for a Bentley Continental to take her son Connor and friends, Ryan and Jade, to the school leaving prom. On the Wednesday, two days before the prom, Mrs Leat rang to arrange the final details only to be told the company had gone bankrupt. She rang around many garages in despair offering £500 for a nice car to take the three teenagers to their prom. She had encountered countless knock backs during her calls to the prestige dealers in Swindon.
I rang her to get a feel of the situation. She explained everything whilst in tears. She felt she had let her son down and was left with a helpless feeling that nothing could be done at such short notice. I asked her to come down and see me and we would see what we could do.
Upon arrival, a very teary eyed Mrs Leat got out of the car along with Connor and came into the dealership. I walked them around the site and told her to pick whichever one she wanted and I would drive her. Mrs Leat erupted into tears again. Connor chose the XK convertible at first but then due to Jade’s ball gown had to have a rethink and went for the XJ.
Mrs Leat then offered me £500 which we declined and said it was our gift. Again crying she left the dealership. Thirty minutes later I received a phone call from the Swindon Advertiser. It turned out Mrs Leat had some connections and had asked the Advertiser to do an article on us.
The following day Mrs Leat, Connor, Ryan and Jade all came to the dealership along with a reporter and a photographer to take a photo shoot that went on the front page and page 3 of the paper. It was at that point I told them the good news that we were now not taking them to the prom in the XJ. Bernard Harris and Alan Pritchard had each volunteered to give up their Friday night as well and we took them in 3 separate cars: F-TYPE 5.0 S, F-TYPE 3.0 S and XK Convertible. Needless to say they arrived in style and were the talk of the prom having starred on the front page of the town paper that day.
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