A hobby of mine is old cars, one of them being a 1966 MGB. Last week, a failed clutch saw me stuck in Pretoria. I was standing looking at the car with its bonnet up, when I became aware that a large bakkie with ‘Bell’ emblazoned on its side had pulled up behind my stranded vehicle.

The driver alighted and enquired what the problem was. I replied that as an amateur mechanic, I was not quite sure. He explained that he was from the UK originally and had worked on MGBs when he was doing his trade.

He then proceeded to strip the clutch system with the rudimentary tools that I had in the car. When he encountered a dismantling problem that the tools were not up to, he told me to wait, as he would go to his home nearby and bring more suitable tools.

He completed the dismantling and with a technician’s sure eye, pointed out the torn hydraulic rubber that was the problem. Taking out his cell phone, he proceeded to phone his friends to see if anyone had something in their spares boxes that might work and get me going again.

It was now seven o’clock at night, and I was concerned that this was not the way he would normally spend his Friday evening. In turn, he said if I was stuck for a way to get back to Midrand, I could stay overnight at his home.

However, with the problem diagnosed, I took a taxi home. The next morning I bought the right part and with my wife’s help, and comments about the wisdom of driving old English cars, I managed to retrieve the offending vehicle.

Thank you Willy Winter, customer service manager for Bell Equipment. Your kindness and concern was and is greatly appreciated. It occurred to me that if Willy represented the calibre of the average Bell customer service manager, then Bell’s customers were (and are) fortunate indeed.