Speed to breakdown proves critical for Welsh fan
“I received an early morning call at work asking if I would urgently help a traveller that had broken down on the south side of Hastings,” explained Malcolm. He said he would look at it as soon as he’d completed the unit he was working on. Malcolm managed to get the other vehicle back on the road and get to work immediately on the tourist’s broken down vehicle.
The traveller was Henry Goodburn, a Welshman heading to Hamilton for the 3.30pm Wales versus Samoa match. It looked as though Henry was going to struggle to get to Hamilton on time, bringing about another problem – he had his friend’s ticket for the game with him, but his friend was in Hamilton. Henry went about trying to get his friend to the game without the ticket (which he successfully did) while Malcolm sourced parts, sorted out the issues with the vehicle and carried out tests.
Unfortunately there was a second breakdown and Henry had to wait five hours for a replacement vehicle to arrive from Wellington, meaning he would miss the match. “With five hours to fill in I offered Henry a loan car so he could look around Napier, or I was happy to show him around myself – he opted for the latter. We did the Art Deco tour by car, drove around the waterfront, Ahuriri Basin, had a look at some wineries, then went home to watch the Wales game on TV, and have a roast and a beer,” says Malcolm.
It would have been very easy for Malcolm to have let Henry sort himself out so he could still attend the match in Napier, but Malcolm isn’t that sort of person. “I couldn’t let the guy down. I only had one ticket so I couldn’t take him to the game with me, so we stayed home. It was a pleasure.”
Henry hit the road at 8.30pm in his replacement vehicle and headed to Hamilton. He was so impressed with Malcolm’s hospitality that he sent an email to the New Zealand Herald titled ‘Your hospitality is unmatchable.’ Malcolm wasn’t expecting any kind of recognition as he didn’t believe he’d done anything out of the ordinary, “I was very surprised, humbled and mixed with wonderment.”
The story has been brought to life in various papers, leading to Malcolm and his wife scoring tickets to the South Africa versus Australia quarter-final in Wellington, thanks to ANZ Bank – “we are very grateful,” said Malcolm. Malcolm and his wife caught up with Henry that day, who had since been joined by his wife. Malcolm said, “Henry and his wife Alex were absolutely over the moon with their stay in New Zealand – the friendly people, the atmosphere at the games and the quality of service. The rental car company even refunded his ticket and adjusted the rental charges accordingly. Henry has said they will be back.”
Malcolm and his wife have received phone calls, emails and personal visits from people all over the country, many from those they have never met. “The response has been overwhelming. Clients have called in just to say ‘well done’, and I even had a batch of muffins dropped off by a complete stranger,” says Malcolm.
Malcolm began operating Malcolm Reid Auto Electrix in November 1984, in the same premises they currently operate from. A staff of seven carry out full mechanical and auto electrical repairs, air conditioning, marine/agricultural engine overhauls, carburettor issues and WoF inspections.
But in the past Malcolm has been involved with a large number of other projects. He was one of three people who coordinated the building of the Thunder Park Drag Racing complex. Malcolm still holds the record for being the first car in New Zealand to complete a wheel stand, a record that has stood since 1976. Somehow, Malcolm also manages to find time to be an advisor for the Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO).
Malcolm hopes to host Henry when they return to New Zealand, which they have vowed to do, but in the meantime will keep in touch. Stories such as this make you proud to be a Kiwi. Malcolm selflessly put his own plans aside to help a tourist out, and in doing so he made Henry’s trip unforgettable.
Story by Stephanie Anderson, MTA Communications and Marketing Coordinator