"One and Only Day" Series: A rescue the night before the big race


On the day before the competition, a man from Oita has an accident that almost ends his hopes to race -- until some friendly Toyota mechanics jump in to save the day.

A Mechanics’ passion resurrects a vehicle

Following a hand-written message from Toyota president Akio Toyoda that said “Thank you. May you have yet another ‘One and Only’ day”, we have been sharing true stories – stories compelled by our customers – based on incidents that have happened between customers and dealership staff in this “one and only” series.

In this story, one Toyota dealership’s staff and an amateur car racer share an unexpected encounter on the night before a racing competition at the circuit, where the passion of a mechanic leads to helping a man experience the joy of driving once again.

Unexpected vehicle damage on the day before the competition

In May 2018, a man had travelled to Oita Prefecture from Nagoya City to participate in the Toyota Gazoo Racing 86/BRZ Race, a race where car fanatics can compete on the circuit with their very own ‘beloved car’. In the test run on the day before, the Oita man, in order to be fully prepared for the actual race the next day, took the practice run a little too seriously, driving too aggressively, causing his car to crash into a wall with his front-end, resulting in damage.

The damage meant that he wouldn’t be able to compete in the race he had been preparing for many months to enter. To top it off, he had invited many of his friends, who were traveling long distances to come to see him. He was devastated.

As he was preparing to withdraw from the competition and began clearing his things from the pit, a man whom he had met a few months ago appeared and asked, “Can I check your vehicle?” He was a mechanic from a Toyota dealership, who happened to be participating in the competition as a mechanic for a different group.

The man from Oita agreed to have his car looked at by the mechanic, hoping beyond hope on the very fine possibility that he could compete.

The man from Oita agrees to have his car looked at

Couldn’t help but do something for a friend who loves cars

The dealership mechanics angelically appearing to help him were from the Toyota Corolla Fukuoka GR Garage Fukuoka Airport.

They both loved the circuit, and participated in the race with their own teams as mechanics – it was one of their weekend hobbies. Inside the pit that day, they had noticed that the man in the team next to them was a customer who had come to their dealership two months ago to change his tires in preparation to compete in this race. At the same time, they also saw how he was considering giving up on competing due to damage his car had sustained.

Under normal circumstances, members from a different team do not usually offer to help, seeing them as competition, but these two mechanics both knew how much this man was excited to participate in the races. Seeing him in such distress and knowing that he too was a car fanatic who loved cars, they felt compelled. In their own words, they could not do anything but “help him to compete in the race to let him experience the joy of driving again”.

Upon inspection, it was clear that the car had indeed suffered significant damage to its exterior; however, the engine appeared fine with no oil leaks. The mechanics thought that as long as they replaced some parts, it could be repaired. Ready to take action, they quickly called their managers in their dealership to ask them for parts that would be required to make the repairs. While the requested parts were temporarily out of stock at their dealership, the staff there asked for help from other to help prepare and ship the parts as quickly as possible. The dealership managers drove for two hours through the dark mountain roads to deliver the parts to the circuit.

Meanwhile, back at the circuit, other mechanics from the Toyota dealership besides Shima-san and Sadamitsu-san had also come to help saying, “Please let us fix it. Please entrust this to us.” With the car ready to compete again, the mechanics cheered along with the man, shouting, “Yes! We did it!”

Beyond the repairs, the dealership staff who had come to deliver the parts then drove out to look for take-out food, such as bento boxes, from nearby restaurants or shops that were open late at night, for their fellow mechanics who had worked so tirelessly on the repair. This act of thoughtfulness was not lost on them either.

Sadamitsu-san reported saying that he had “no hesitations on fixing a vehicle that belonged to another team,” since it was for the sake of another fellow car fanatic. Sharing his own feelings on the same experience, Shima-san said, “Mechanics enjoy fixing cars and when I can make other people happy, I am happy. I was not only filled with a feeling of fulfillment, but also learned the importance of not giving up”.

Sadamitsu-san at a dealership service bay where he works as a vehicle technician/mechanic

Our joy is making our customers happy

Shima-san and Sadamitsu-san both mentioned that as children they would save their pocket money to buy miniature toy cars and remote control cars, and loved cars from a young age.

Shima-san said, “We have an area with a free car racing simulator now at our dealership, and I often enjoy time there together with small primary school-aged kids.” And for high school students who do not have a driver’s license yet, he says he goes for a test drive with them in the passenger seats. Irrespective of his customers’ age, he likes to find ways for his customers to experience the joy of driving.

“When customers are having a fun conversation about cars, I can’t help but join in,” said Sadamitsu-san.

At the dealership, it was clear that their focus is always on helping the customers enjoy being there while actively listening and joining their talks about cars. But that’s not all, on the dealership staff too, it is also evident how much they all share in the joy of cars together.

Shima-san (right)

The Oita man, able to safely compete in the race later, sent a thank you message to the mechanics and dealership, and it said the following:

“I thought it was all over, and did not dream I would be able to complete the race. In the final lap of the finals, my eyes were naturally filled with tears.”

In the “One and Only Day” series, we are sharing true accounts of “one and only” incidents that occur between customers and Toyota’s dealership staff members, members who put themselves in the customer’s shoes, thinking about what action they can do for each and every customer.