CHICAGO (CVBS) — Our healthcare heroes are on the go, but to get from here to there to care for COVID-19 patients, their vehicles need to run properly. CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us inside a dealership hoping to lend a hand at hospitals.
Someone is always cleaning at Honda of Downtown Chicago, but the novel coronavirus outbreak launched the essential business into super-sterile mode.READ MORE: UIC Researchers Receive $6M For COVID-19 Treatment To Help Keep People Off Ventilators
Now a foggy disinfectant runs through air conditioning vents. The virus eliminator, offered as part of a partnership with Auto Renew Group, is especially important for customer Michelle Ferjak. She’s a nurse at Loyola University Medical Center, a level one trauma center in Maywood.
“Being a healthcare provider, safety is always important to get to our jobs,” she said.
Ferjak’s 1982 Honda was due for an airbag recall and an oil change, but she works overnight, and during the day her kids are doing remote learning for school
“So I have a 6th grader, an 8th grader, and a junior,” she said.
She chose to personally bring her car in for service; her little escape during the statewide “stay at home” order “to compose myself and get ready for work again.”
Respiratory therapists, doctors, techs, and more from Loyola, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Rush University Medical Center can get their vehicles picked up for service by Honda Of Downtown Chicago during their shift; any make or model.READ MORE: Gov. JB Pritzker Issues New Mask Mandate For Illinois Schools, Some State Employees As COVID-19 Cases Continue To Climb
“These people are working 12-, 13-, 14-hour shifts. Then they go home, probably flop in their bed and they get up and do it all again,” general manager Gary Wexler said. “We bring them back a car that’s clean, that’s serviced, they’ve received a deep discount. It’s really not all about making money. That’s not what it’s about.”
The 20% markdown for hospital staff and first responders comes at a time when cash isn’t exactly flowing into the showroom. Dealerships can’t accept walk-ins, only appointments during the “stay at home” order.
“Between us and Volkswagen, we’re probably 300-350 cars a month. Maybe this month it’s 200-250. So that’s a hit,” Wexler said.
Service calls decreased, too, but are on the rise with the new promotion for healthcare workers and first responders; keeping Honda employees afloat, and the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 fight tuned up.
“I would say they’re also first responders, in the fact that we can get to our jobs safely,” Ferjak said.
Honda actually serviced her car for free.MORE NEWS: Chicago House Music DJ And Producer Paul Johnson Dies After Battle With COVID-19
They’ve started advertising their promotion this week, on top of boxes of pizza they’re sending to hospitals during lunchtime. They’ve delivered pizza twice so far and are looking to do it again.