The Parable of the Chevrolet Owner and the Ford Service Center

A friend from Church asked me recently, “Why would I send my daughter to a Christian School when it is so much cheaper and closer to send her to the state school down the road – they are both schools after all?”

I told my friend of a man called Harry. Harry saved up for years to buy a brand new Chevrolet Impala Premier. At over $40,000 and with all the added post-purchase extras that Harry lavished upon it, this car was Harry’s pride and joy. Every weekend Harry would meet with other Chevrolet owners and talk about their cars and encourage each other. They were so happy and grateful for their cars that they even sang songs about them and whenever they got the opportunity, they tried to tell Ford owners what they were missing out on, inviting them to their meetings and trying to convert them.

Harry was very protective of his new Impala and at first he would sacrifice nothing to be sure his Chevy only got the best of everything. However, with insurance and the rising cost of gas, it was quite expensive to own a new Chevrolet. But as every new car owner knows it is very important to keep the car properly serviced. This meant the car would be in fine form for a long time and with regular servicing the car was bound to be a classic Chevy one day.

Just down the road from Harry there was a Ford Servicing Center. It was very good at servicing Ford cars. The workshop was shiny and had all the newest electronic gadgets. Most of the people who worked there were very good at servicing Fords and there was even the odd worker who was secretly a Chevrolet lover and tried to put a little bit of Chevrolet in the cars they serviced. Some Chevy lovers knew this and sent their beloved Impalas and other Chevy babies to this Ford Service Center with the hope that the secret Chevrolet lover might service their car. However, the real reason some Chevrolet lovers sent their babies to the Ford Service Center was because it was nearby. And, most importantly, the government subsidized costs at the Ford Service Center, so it was much cheaper to have the Impala serviced there than at the official Chevrolet Service Center across town.

When it came time to start servicing his car, Harry considered the Chevrolet Service Center, but because of the location and the extra cost in sending it across town, Harry chose to send his car to the Ford Service Center instead. Harry knew the Ford Service Center would only use Ford parts on his car – in fact Chevrolet parts were very much forbidden at the Ford Service Center, but it was closer and cheaper. Occasionally, in the interests of multiculturalism, some people from the Chevrolet Club were allowed to visit the Ford Service Center and show videos of Chevrolets. They showed pictures and told some stories about Chevys from many years ago. They even sang some songs about Chevrolets. But they were only allowed to sing songs about tires, towbars and paint jobs, definitely no stories or songs about the intricacies of what made a Chevy a Chevy. They weren’t even allowed to talk about the main Chevrolet symbol and what it really stood for.

In his heart of hearts, Harry knew that at the Ford Service Center there were some Chevy-haters, and there was a good chance that his baby would be roughed up a little. In fact, because his baby was a Chevrolet in a Ford’s world, there was a very high chance of some damage, but Harry hoped that the damage would not last. After all he reminded himself, it was cheaper and closer to use the Ford Service Center.

After a few years, Harry found his baby was changing. Not all the time, but sometimes when his Impala got hot it made noises like a Ford. Actually sometimes it even drove a little like a Ford. But worst of all for Harry, sometimes it would not start on Sunday mornings when it was time to go to the Chevrolet Club meetings.

One such Sunday morning, instead of walking himself to the Club (his car wouldn’t start again), he decided to get to the bottom of what was going on. He spent a lot of time digging around underneath the hood, trunk, and elsewhere. Everything looked fine on the surface, but when he looked deep in the car he found that unbeknown to him, some of the car’s internal parts had been replaced. There were Ford parts all over the place! Some of them didn’t look like they even fit well and had to have been beaten into place.

As Harry closed the bonnet, wondering what he could have done differently, he realized for the first time that the Chevrolet badge was starting to slip, just a little. He wondered what might have been different if he had had his beloved Impala serviced at the Chevrolet Service Center all along.

Why would you send your child to a Christian School when the school down the road is closer and cheaper? The answer seems relatively straight forward to me…

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