The Lumberyard

Patrick of Gaster Lumber and Hardware
Our camper has a banquette with two seats. Underneath the cushions is a thin sheet of 1/8″ plywood between our butts and the storage compartment below. We use these seats for eating and working, so they get a lot of use. At 250lbs, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I cracked the wood and fell through, so I decided to take one of the pieces to a local lumberyard and have them cut me two thicker pieces.
Arriving at Gaster Lumber and Hardware, I was directed to the back office where I met Patrick – a fellow RV’er and salesman for the company. I told Patrick my story and the manager said, “Let’s give him two of those spare pieces of 2′ X 4′ because nobody is going to see it underneath the cushions.”
Waiting for the wood, Patrick and I talked about RVs and trucks, weight limits and such.
The warehouseman arrived with my two pieces of wood and Patrick said, “Well, good luck and safe travels, Sir!”
But there was a miscommunication. “Well, I’m sorry to say, ” I said, “that I was not clear. I don’t have a saw at the RV park to cut these to fit. Is there any way you guys can help me with that?”
Their look at one another told the story. They just sell the lumber. Carpenters cut it. This was beyond the scope of their work.
Patrick and the manager looked at one another one more time and before you can say “Walmart is the biggest grocery store in America” the two men were marching me out to the back warehouse to cut my pieces to size.
Using a marking pen to trace my original piece, the men placed the wood on a table saw. Within 5-10 minutes I had two custom-sized pieces of wood for my banquette.
“Wow, ” I said. “Thank you so, so much for doing this.”
“Wasn’t nothing, ” said Patrick. “I know what it’s like to be in an RV with no tools and you need to get something done. It’s my pleasure to help,” he said, as I started walking towards the exit.
“Wait one minute, ” said Patrick. “I’ve got an idea. We oughta cut some holes in the wood so that you can take them on and off the banquette more easily.”
As my jaw nearly fell to the floor, Patrick sought out the right size drill bit and proceeded to cut quarter-sized holes in my pieces of wood. Then, he searched for some thick string and created pull cords so that I wouldn’t have to even touch the rough wood in order to access the storage compartment.
“I don’t know how to thank you, ” I said to Patrick. “Just pay it forward, ” he said.
When I got back to the campsite, I told my buddies Henry and Paula (remember the Super Bowl Party?) about this experience. Henry said, “That’s just how we do things around here. It doesn’t cost us nothing to be nice and that’s how we treat one another and anyone who needs a hand.”
Lesson learned.

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