My Friend Ray~Part 1

23 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane


One day in the mid-1960s, while Ray was at work, his daughter decided to clean their refrigerator and get rid of the ice in the freezing compartment. The only problem with this good-will gesture was that she used a knife to break up the ice in the freezing compartment, puncturing holes in it. When she finished her task, the refrigerator wouldn’t cool. When Ray got home from work that evening, she told him what she had done and that she couldn’t understand why the refrigerator wouldn’t cool. It didn’t take Ray long to discover the problem. But now, what to do? He called the Hussman’s refrigeration parts store to see how much a replacement freezing unit would cost and was told $100 + $50 for a service call to have it installed. Well, in those days a person could buy a new refrigerator for around $200. Ray figured he could repair the unit himself for less than that. He went to the local salvage yard and found a refrigerator similar to his and of the same make and asked the man how much he would charge Ray for the freezing unit. The man said, “$2.00, but you have to remove it yourself.” Ray removed the unit, took it home and installed it in his refrigerator. Once he had everything back together, he charged the system with Freon, and his refrigerator worked fine.


Sometime during this scenario, Ray had told his neighbor what had happened to his refrigerator, but not what he had done to fix the problem. The next time Ray saw his neighbor, he asked Ray, “Did you buy a new refrigerator?” Ray said, “No, I fixed the old one.” Then his neighbor said, “Really, do you think you could fix my window A/C unit?” Ray said, “I don’t know, I can take a look at it.” He took it to his shop, cleaned it up, added some Freon to the unit and it worked fine. When Ray gave the A/C unit back to his neighbor, the man asked, “How much do I owe you?” Ray said, “I’m not going to charge you anything for that.”


Well, evidently Ray’s neighbor told his friend what a good job Ray had done on his A/C unit, and the next thing Ray knew, the friend showed up at Ray’s house wanting to know if Ray could fix his window A/C unit. You know how word of mouth stories can get around. As could be expected, when people found out there was a reliable and reasonable air conditioning repair man around, it wasn’t long before Ray had more neighborhood air conditioning work than he knew what to do with.



Then one day Mike, who Ray was buying his air conditioning parts from, asked Ray if he would consider opening an air conditioning dealership to sell Bryant equipment. Ray told him he didn’t have the space for a dealership. Mike told Ray that if he would rent or buy a building, he would set Ray up with a Bryant dealership. Next thing he knew Ray was the owner of the Koolway Refrigeration Company.



—–To Be Continued—–

2 Responses to “My Friend Ray~Part 1”

  1. Old Things R New December 23, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    I think I am going to enjoy this series, Bill. Ray sounds like a handy fella.



  1. My Friend Ray~Part 1 | markgraham61 - December 23, 2015

    […] Source: My Friend Ray~Part 1 […]


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