Helping a Community Member Yields New Hendrick Employee at Honda Cars of Rock Hill

May 5th, 2018 by

Jay Ritenbaugh using a car loaned to him from Honda Cars of Rock Hill for rehabilitation purposes after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. In his efforts to regain his independence, Honda Cars of Rock Hill ultimately assisted Jay in more ways than one.

While working at a Pottery Barn in 2017, Jay Ritenbaugh was starting to lose sensation in his hands and legs and assumed it was the result of a pinched nerve from moving furniture.

On January 9, 2017, Jay was admitted to the Heath South Rehabilitation Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina, after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. Jay would need extensive rehabilitation to regain his independence.

Jay worked tirelessly with therapists to regain his strength. As his discharge date came closer, Jay was notified that he would need help getting in and out of his vehicle. One problem, his car was in Charlotte, not South Carolina, where Jay was presently. Without friends or family, Jay had a crazy thought “What if there was a nearby Honda dealership that would be willing to bring a car similar to my own that I could practice getting in and out of?”. After a quick search Jay found Honda Cars of Rock Hill, the closest Honda dealership, who he called promptly with his special request.

Upon reaching out to Honda Cars of Rock Hill, Jay was connected to Russ Crumpton, the General Sales Manager at the dealership, who was happy to oblige Jay’s request, saying to the sales associate, “I am going to ask you to do something and I know it’s kind of a peculiar request, but you’ll be making a big difference to someone in our community”. The associate then drove the Honda Civic to Jay’s location, where Jay was able to practice getting in and out of the vehicle. This experience started a special relationship between Jay and the Honda Cars of Rock Hill family.

After being discharged from the Health South Rehab Center, Jay was determined to stop by the dealership to thank Russ and Mike Easley, the sales associate that helped him. The surprise was, that Russ was looking to add to the sales team, which Jay discovered when he shared that he was currently out of work due to his illness. Russ asked if he’d ever considered selling cars, and two weeks later, Jay started his new career as a sales associate for Honda Cars of Rock Hill.

“If you told me 18 months ago that I would be selling Hondas in Rock Hill, South Carolina, I would have called you crazy,” Ritenbaugh said. “But today, I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary at the dealership in addition to being named ‘Pre-Owned Cars Salesman of the Month’ twice in my first 12 months.” And as Crumpton put it: “Jay started his new job on a walker, then three months later transitioned to a cane. The next thing I knew, I saw him running across the parking lot to help a customer.”

Jay is thrilled that his life has taken this new direction, saying he has found a forever family thanks to Russ Crumpton, Mike Easley and General Manager Joel Suggs. The rest as we say is history.

Through our relationship with Jay, we’ve learned that uncommon requests present big opportunities to help others and sometimes even better our situation, too. How can you, personally or professionally when faced with a special request go out of your way to change someone’s life for the better?