Shocking First Step
Today I called up to the Vespa dealership in Holland, Michigan where I bought my scooter. My hope was to meet with Stew who sold my scooter to me to see if they could support me in finding the unique gear I will need to make this journey. Turns out Stew was gone and hadn't been replaced. I had just spoken with him four days earlier. I was put on the phone with the general manager who reluctantly explained that a decision had come down from on high to close the Vespa department.
He explained that they could get a Vespa for someone who wanted one, they just wouldn't have a Vespa department. Suddenly, I realized this meant that their service was gone as well. When I asked about Aaron, the amazing scooter service person (who brought my scooter back to life after it was totalled) the manager said he was sad to say Aaron was gone as well. Now I don't know what the dynamics are of this decision at Fox Lincoln/Vespa. What I do know is that Aaron was extremely enthusiastic about his job. When I first met him a year ago he told me "I love fixing scooters. This is my passion. There is nothing I would rather do." It is so rare any more to find someone who feels so passionately about their work. I have felt heartbroken all day for Aaron. I don't know where he is or what will come next, but I pray Aaron finds his way into another scooter shop somewhere even if it means he has to pack up and hit the road to find the right job.
As for me, I was directed to Grand Rapids which is two hours away - the same distance as Chicago. I don't know my way around Grand Rapids but I certainly know my way around Chicago. I suspect I know who will win that toss. Grand Rapids is reported to have a great scooter club, so we will see.