This year’s top film has no shortage of capes and heroes with super powers. “Avengers: Infinity Wars” has grossed well over $2 billion at the international box office, while “Black Panther,” another film in the same Marvel universe, became one of the highest grossing films with an all African-American cast, earning nearly $1.4 billion worldwide. In bombastic fashion, the world was saved, and good prevailed.
Yet despite how those spandex and leather clad characters fare on screen, real heroes don’t have super strength, x-ray vision or even fancy costumes. A team of four from Grease Monkey’s location in Columbus, Georgia, proved that a simple mask and a cape can put smiles on the faces of young children and make super heroes come to life.
This past August, the fantastic foursome took some time away from servicing cars to visit the pediatric ward at the Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital, where they brought blankets to children.
For the Grease Monkey team — and thanks to the proliferation of super heroes across pop culture — giving back was a “super” idea.
“That is exactly the reason we chose to do this promotion with the hospital this year,” said Chuck Davis, managing partner at the Columbus, Georgia Grease Monkey.
There were other ideas, however.
“There was so much hype about royal weddings. We thought about maybe having the guys go as royalty, but kids just love super heroes,” Davis said.
The 20 Minute Men
As soon as the four Grease Monkey employees entered the ward, there was tremendous applause. These men didn’t save the world; they did something better. They put smiles on the faces of young children who didn’t get to spend their summer playing in the sun or having fun in the mountains. This included four-year old Parker Beck, a super hero fan who found the four men even more exciting than his plush Spiderman toy.
“The kids didn’t even know who they were supposed to be, but a mask goes a long way,” Davis said.
Of course the four men don’t have super powers — then again, neither do Chris Evans (Captain America) or Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man). Yet, to the kids on that August day, it didn’t really matter. However, the Grease Monkey team could be dubbed the “20 Minute Men,” not for an actual power but a honed skill.
“Actually, the theme was based on providing an oil change in 20 minutes guaranteed,” said Davis, who added that a video clip was sped up showing the men zipping around the cars and servicing them. “I mean, who doesn’t think that doing an efficient oil change in 20 minutes doesn’t require some super power!”
This was the first time that the Grease Monkey shop sent out its super team, but it has been involved in other community programs.
“Last year, we honored veterans on Veteran’s Day,” Davis said. “For this promotion, we offered a free oil change to veterans and active military personnel. More than 200 people showed up, and that was something that we were proud to offer.”
Davis added the Grease Monkey location already offers discounts to military and veterans every day, but wanted to do something special.
“We’re home to a large army base, and this is our way to show our thanks to those who served and are serving,” he said.
As part of the greater service industry, Davis agreed that small businesses such as Grease Monkey need to be at the forefront of such efforts.
“We’re looking hard at what other businesses in our area, and even the region, are not addressing,” he explained. “We’re seeing food drives and other efforts, which is really great. But, we decided to make a difference with charities that aren’t getting the same amount of attention.”
These efforts will continue throughout the year, Davis added.
“At Christmas last year, we gave a discount for those who brought in toys for needy families with children, and I’m happy to report that we had 524 people take advantage of that program and donate toys,” Davis said. “It made the employees feel good to see the kids, who might not have gotten a new toy at the holidays, be able to bring something home. We plan to do this promotion again this year.”
Other days are also noted, and 9/11 each year is a day when the shop gives back to local first responders.
“That is a day we all remember and always will,” Davis said.
But no matter the day or event, Davis added that it is important that small business leads the vanguard when it comes to aiding charities and supporting other causes.
“We need to be the backbone in supporting our communities!” Davis said.