Most of us look to our dads or father figures for guidance throughout life. If you were lucky, your dad made sure you were handy with a wrench and socket set too. Many of our Team Members were raised by car guys who taught their kids to do regular vehicle maintenance while they were learning their times tables.
To celebrate Father’s Day this year, we’re taking a look at what our fathers or father figures taught us about cars. Visit our Facebook page for more Team Member profiles.
This is Tamekia Richardson. She’s General Manager at our store in Shreveport, Louisiana. Here’s her story about how her dad, Robert London, taught her about cars.
What vehicles did you work on with your dad?
1980 Cutlass, ’69 Nova, ’79 ford, ’88 Camaro, tractors, and 1960-present day Chevys.
What did he teach you about cars?
My dad was always working on somebody’s car. We lived in the country, and I was the middle child. My older sister and my younger brother were the tool holders, and we were the ones to collect all the screws, nuts, and bolts. We got to help pull the engines out with a chain horse over a tree limb. Those were the best days.
He always told us if you are going to drive a car you need to know how to fix it. People will charge you a lot to fix a small problem, so he taught us about the upkeep. We spent most summer days outside in the yard working on cars with him. He had a race car that we broke down and put back together at least 30 times.
My sister went on to work at General Motors and has been there for 25 years. I am here at Advance—just made 5 years. My brother and dad still work on tractors and cars.
He always told us if you are going to drive a car you need to know how to fix it. People will charge you a lot fix a small problem, so he taught us about the upkeep.
Can you share a life lesson he taught you?
I got my first car in 1990. It was a 1980 Cutlass Supreme, and my dad would let me drive to school on one condition. See, we lived in the country and walked about a half mile to the bus stop every morning. When I got the car he said, you can drive it if you can fix it. So every morning my dad would get up before us and go out and unhook something like spark plug wires or take the battery cable end off. Needless to say that if I did not get it fixed, I had to run and catch the bus.
The ultimate one was when he took off the distributor cap and put a piece of cardboard in between so it would not fire. I looked all over until I noticed fingerprints on the cap. I pulled it up and there was the cardboard. I got the car started. After that he said, I think you will be okay driving. He never did that again until my younger brother started driving.
Did you teach your kids about cars?
Yes. I have four kids, and my sons, ages 20 and 24, can break down and rebuild an engine. However, my 11-year-old son is a car fanatic. He loves to build model cars and designs cars on his laptop with the paint program using only his fingertips. He and my husband go to all the car shows: classic cars, race cars, and all cars. My husband also works on cars and I love the fact that I sometimes know more than him thanks to my dad, the greatest dad ever, Mr. Robert London.
Anything else you want to tell us about your dad?
We lost our mom in 1998 at 41 years of age, and it was just our dad and us after that. He is one great person. We go to church together every Sunday, and he comes over and loves to take over when my husband is working on something. He has a heart of gold and is teaching the same automotive class to my kids and their friends today in 2016.