We don’t get too many calls for repairing electronic magnification systems but like any good business you just don’t want to say “sorry we can’t help you.”  So when my colleague Virginia took the call from the daughter of a 95 year old man that was having trouble with his CCTV, she took her name and number and said she’d look into it.  Well, “looking in to it” means ask Larry if he’ll run over to this gentleman’s house and see what’s up.  Not wanting to disappoint anyone, I agreed to the task.

Virginia called the daughter and arranged a date and time for me to meet her at her dad’s retirement home.  Arriving at the retirement home, I find the apartment at  the end of long hallway. A few knocks on the door, followed by a couple of barks from the dog inside and the door swings open and I’m greeted by an attractive, smiling woman, “hello you must be Larry, my name is Lynn and this is my dad Sam.  Sam is sitting at the CCTV and stands-up as I enter the room.  We shake hands and introduce one another.   I ask Sam what seems to be the problem and he politely informs me, ”it just stopped working a few days ago.”  Now at the point I should have just tried to turn it on, but instead I looked at the AC wall connection to make sure it was plugged-in as well as the connection between the AC adapter and the unit.  After checking all the connections, I powered-up the unit, and it came to life.

About this time I’m thinking, don’t tell me I drove all the way down here to plug it in.  After all, I do have a bit of pride in my ability to diagnose and repair things and plugging something in is hardly a “repair.”  Nevertheless, I was pleased that it was working and Sam and Lynn were quite pleased.   So I tidied-up the wires, and moved the AC adapter just in case he may have been kicking it with his foot. Hopefully that would prevent any similar problems in the future.

Because it was about lunchtime, and was getting hungry, I told Sam to keep the unit on for an hour or so and I would stay in the area and grab a bite to eat.  Sam thanks me for fixing the problem and asks how much do I owe you?  Well, since I really didn’t fix anything, I told him he didn’t owe me anything. He then suggests, “how about I buy you lunch?”  “That works for me Sam” and he hands me twenty bucks.   Sure enough, I stick around for an hour, have lunch – no phone call.  All is well and good.

I need to mention this was my second on-site service call.  The first time was during the holiday season and we were visiting the in-laws in the S.F. Bay Area.  The customer called around October and I mentioned if he was willing to wait I would be in the area in December and I’d be happy to come by.  To my surprise, he agreed to wait.

After diagnosing the problem over the phone, and with the assistance of a helpful technician at TeleSensory, I purchased a light starter for few dollars at the local True Value Hardware store in Berkeley and proceed to the job with part in hand.

The unit was at least 20 years old – and it looked it.   About now I was starting to question my ability to repair it.  I removed a panel, replaced the starter, put it back together, hit the switch and bingo, it worked.  I can assure you, that brought a smile to both our faces. The gentleman asked how much was the repair, but given the season and all, I told him it was on-the-house.  He then offered to buy me lunch, of which, I gladly accepted.  I learned long ago that people of his generation are not keen on charity and like to pay for products or services they received.  He pulled out his wallet and handed me – twenty bucks.