Great customer service comes in many different ways.

Last week I called this company and said that I had a new kitchen faucet that I wanted installed. The guy on the phone said he'd check to see if they had anyone available for Wednesday, the day I wanted it installed. He called back in a few hours and said that he had a guy named Jimmy who would be available, as he was the guy who usually handled these kinds of jobs for them, but he wanted to come that evening, Monday, instead. I said sure, since I didn't have anything else going on. The guy on the phone told me Jimmy was going to be something different; I love something different.

When Jimmy showed up, he was something different. Jimmy is 86 years old, but he was spry and strong for a little guy. He was animated and grizzled at the same time; you knew this was a guy who'd drank a lot of coffee and smoked a lot of cigarettes in his days. He said he'd been doing plumbing for more than 60 years, and he hadn't seen a kitchen faucet he couldn't handle. Obviously he'd never met any Mitchell's, at least those from my family line.

Jimmy looked at what I had and said he'd just installed something similar the week before. He said it would take just over an hour if all went right. I knew we were in trouble; this is the "black hole house" after all. It's like the last owners of this house, who also added the addition to the house that contains what I use as my office, decided they wanted a lot of nice stuff, but didn't want to pay good money for any of it. I was betting Jimmy was in for a hard time.

I was right. Certain things didn't fit properly once Jimmy got into it. He said certain things used in putting in the previous faucet wouldn't work with this one, and questioned why people did what they did when installing it. What could I say? I just laughed, though he wasn't really laughing. He was talking up a storm, with a continual diatribe. Sometimes it wasn't totally clean language, but in my mind, Jimmy was there for me, and he could say anything he wanted.

Twice Jimmy had to leave the house to go get replacement parts for the junk that was already under the sink. The first time he went the wrong direction, and though I expected him to drive back in a minute or two, it took him 5 minutes to figure out how to get back to my house so he could go the right way; that was the first time I worried about Jimmy's age.

The second time I worried about his age was when water got into his ear (when he asked me to turn the water on to test whether things were sealed properly) and drenched his earpiece, which he then thought was ruined because he couldn't hear anything (it cost him more than $1,300), but I told him it was making quite the ruckus and killing my ears, which made him happy once he understood what I was saying to him because that meant it was still working.

A couple of times his wife called him on the cell, and he first told her he'd be home in about 30 minutes, then later told her he'd be there when he got there; my kind of guy! Because, by the time Jimmy was done, he'd been there just over 3 hours. He wouldn't quit, and he kept coming up with brand new ideas for what the issue might be. But he persevered; when I thought he might stop and say he'd come back tomorrow, he kept going.

Once he was done, he didn't jack up the price either. He still charged me the same that I'd been quoted. I was going to write the check for more but he told me not to do it. If I'd had money on me I'd have given him an extra $20 or so for all he went through; I need to start keeping more money around me.

It wasn't traditional great customer service, but it was dedicated customer service. He gave me his phone number to call him if things went wrong. He also told me to call him when I'm ready to have my pipes cleaned out by his special crystals; that call could be coming sooner than later. I don't know if Jimmy will remember me, but I'll certainly remember him, and recommend him to anyone I know who needs a local plumber, 86 years old or not.