It is now 1980 and American Pest Control was born. After two failed partnerships and a loss of 12 million dollars Barbara and I decided no more partnerships, we had enough. So the two of us, a bit battered and scraped and with almost no capital to start with began our new venture.
It was not easy starting with almost nothing. As a result of three months working the new business, it was not going well, it looked as though we would have to give up.
Give up and do what, go where? We had not place to go, no one to turn to for help. I was faced with the worst possible scenario, no work, almost no money, and worst of all the flame of hope was now like the flickering of a candle that was about to go out.
While we were generating barely enough income to survive. And I do mean barely! Something amazing happened. Out of the darkness and gloom of what looked like impending disaster, a bright sparkle of light shimmered. Suddenly within a few hours, hope was re-ignited.
For three strangely wonderful events began to unfold.
The first began while I was sitting outside in the warmth of the early summer. It was the kind of warmth that made me feel a deep inner peace, at least for the moment. I trying to figure out what I could do to get enough money to pay the upcoming rent. We were close but still short. If you have ever been in that position you know how draining and emotionally upsetting it can be.
While sitting there my youngest daughter came to me and it was obvious there was something on her mind, she wanted something. So I asked her what was on her mind. I remember this as if it were yesterday. Daddy, she said, Please may I have (we have always taught our children to say, Please may I have, or I would like. They were not allowed to say, buy me, or I want), so she said please may I have a purple, 24 inch 10-speed bike? She went on to explain that her sister’s 27-inch bike is too big for her to reach the peddles. I smiled as best I could, but inside a tremendous turmoil began to brew. I wanted to yes, absolutely, but it was not possible, no way was it going to happen. Not because of will or desire but because there was absolutely no money for such a luxury. I did the only thing I could think of at the moment. I told her, not right now but to go and pray about it. So she happily skipped off. It bothered me a great deal, I had failed my family and it began to eat away at the very core of my being. At that point in my life, I desperately needed something positive, even if it were small, anything, just something to give me hope.
Later that same week I made a call to what I hoped to be a new customer. He had a problem with Sugar Ants. At that time the cost for the treatment was $84.95. He seemed uncertain and was wavering as to whether he could afford it or not. There was a great deal of uncertainty and it looked as though it was not going to turn out to be a job. But none the less I remained positive and reassured him that I could take care of his ant problem.
I had done a pest inspection, which involved inspecting all the rooms, garage, and exterior of his house. There were a couple of interesting items I noticed. First of all, it was a three bedroom home. But none of the bedrooms had any indication of children living there. Secondly, there was a child’s bike in the garage. Interesting but not all that unusual. So I went back into the house and explained the type of treatment I would provide and the cost involved. He still seemed very hesitant. It was then a rather strange, an unexpected thought came to mind….I asked him, would you be interested in trading pest control services for the bike in your garage?
His response was equally unexpected. He told me that they bought that bike for their daughter eight years ago. He said she rode it twice and decided she didn’t like it and never rode it again. That was eight years ago and for some unknown reason, they still had the bike. He went on to tell me that during those eight years he and his family, children now grown and on their own, have moved six times. As it turned out, each time they brought the bicycle with them. He said he would be pleased to do a trade with me because they were having some financial struggles, he had been out of work for several months, and doing a trade would really help them out. Seems as though his wife really hated ants!
The bicycle? It was in almost new condition, and would you believe it was a purple 24 inch, 10 speed. Now that put a smile on my face! It was nothing short of a miracle. There were 35 (I remember the number) pest control companies in the area. We were nowhere near the biggest or even, at that time, the best. So the chances of him calling my specific company were not good at all. And what if I had not been prompted to ask the question regarding the trade, I would have left with nothing, and never had known what a miracle was about to take place.. The bicycle itself, 24-inch purple 10 speed. It was not just close it was EXACTLY what my daughter politely asked for. On top of that, since it was a trade, our actual cost for materials used on the job was less than a dollar. A coincidence that all this happened, at just the right time? Now way. It was a miraculous gift and one that sparked hope and a renewed sense of purpose
The bicycle and the way it came about gave me a sense of awe, and it put a big smile on the face of my daughter.
Next month, the second most amazing miracle took place.