Salesman of the Year

I’m sitting here at the Kia dealership getting my oil changed (for only $20!) and I just ran into the guy who sold us our new car in January. I jokingly asked how his finger was to see if he remembered me. He did.

You see, when we were first looking at cars, we were narrowing it down and he was showing us the interior of a Hyundai when I slammed the poor schmuck’s fingers in the car door. I was speechless. So was he, though you could tell he was really struggling to keep the expletives behind sealed lips. I urged him to go inside and walk it off or to put some ice on it, anything to make the situation a little less awkward. He valiantly stuck around and began to point and explain about the cupholders before shaking his head and going inside, leaving us the keys and telling us to take our time driving around the neighborhood.

We thankfully left ol’ Eight Finger Freddy and cruised around a little bit, wondering whether his digits would be all right; wondering how anyone in their right mind, who sold cars for a living, who got paid showing cars to strangers day in and day out, could be so dense as to leave their fingers directly on the part of the car door everyone’s mom most feared. His hand had been splayed out across the rib of the frame between the driver’s side front and back door. He was peering through the open front door; I was peering through the rear. He had finished a sentence and I nodded and shut the door. Simple as that. His right hand fingers got smushed by the rear door at the worst point possible - where, if you remember your physics class, the movement of the lever is at its shortest length but the applied force is the most magnified.

Then we thought, maybe he’s trying to take us for a ride. Maybe this is his thing. He sacrifices a few fingers in the name of a sale. If he did, I thought, he earned it. We ended up buying the Kia Sorento we test-drove earlier, and though we’re very happy with the car and I’m pretty sure we made our minds up before circumcising his right hand, there’s a part of me that wonders how much those nearly severed digits played into the sale. I’d like to think not at all, but the skeptic in me says I’d be a fool to rule out the possibility.

Fast forward to today, when I get the oil changed and run into him in the main waiting area. I jokingly ask about his fingers and he smiles and holds up his right hand, and that’s when I notice the splint holding his ring finger straight, wrapped in an athletic bandage. He says that some other customer had smashed his hand in the car door, just like I did three months ago.

I bet he made that sale, too.

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