What I learned from my dad’s car phone calls

Back in the 80s, my dad had the coolest technology of anyone I knew. Granted my sample size was small at the age of seven, but I can still remember my dad showing people his installed car phone and how they marveled over the idea of having a phone in their car, especially one that was voice activated (yes, you read that right). To say it was a big deal is an understatement. It was such a big deal to have a car phone that stores sold fake car phone antennas that people could put on their cars to look like a big shot! My dad didn’t pretend to be a big shot, and didn’t even really show off his car phone, he simply had one for work and used it well. And as an elementary school kid, sitting and listening to my dad talk on his car phone, I learned a few things.

  1. Use what you have to help others. I can’t tell you how many times we would be driving somewhere, and my dad would see a car wreck or someone who broke down on the side of the road and would stop to let them use his phone. Remember, this is back when no one carried cell phones, so the option was to walk to a pay phone or hope someone was kind enough to stop and let you use their car phone. My dad is the kind of man to stop and help.
  2. Be kind to your employees. While riding around, I listened to countless calls between my dad and people that worked for him. Often they would be talking through a problem that needed to be solved, and though I could tell it stressed him out, my dad was never unkind to his employees, he just worked with them to solve the problem.
  3. Find ways to do extra good with what you have. When I was a little older, my dad was a part of bringing over a foreign exchange student from Russia (who ended up becoming a part of the family). While he was in college he had no way to call back home to Russia, so my dad would let him call on his car phone. I can still remember sitting in the car and listening to him speak to his family for 20 or 30 minutes in Russian, while my dad just sat there, happy to be helpful. In all those times listening, I learned that “da” means yes in Russian, but not much more than that, unfortunately.
  4. Technology is a tool, use it well. From the examples above its pretty clear that my dad uses technology well, in serving and helping others. As technology encroaches more and more into my daily living, I think this is the best lesson I could learn from his car phone calls. I hope that I can use technology well like he has, for the benefit of others too.

Image Source – By Trent021 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27803713

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