Disclaimer: Toyota is a Cerebra client.

My mom is a Grade One teacher at Benoni Junior School. She shared this cool service story with me the other day, I thought it was pretty exceptional and wanted to give them some airtime.

She tells it as such:

Sitting in the East Rand Toyota showroom recently while my husband negotiated the purchase of a new vehicle, I stared at some brand spanking new 14 to 16 seater busses parked on the floor.

As a teacher at Benoni Junior School (a Foundation Phase School in the centre of Benoni) I had, along with other colleagues, been wrestling with how we were going to transport 13 of our little ones to a Human Movement Festival. The majority of our children are bussed in from some of the previously disadvantaged communities and many of the parent body are reliant on public transport themselves.
The staff generally transport the children to soccer, netball and cultural events in their own vehicles but this event was taking place during school hours. We insist on all children being transported being “buckled up” so it would have necessitated at least 4 teachers leaving classes unattended to transport our little ones.

I knew our school would never be able to afford to buy our own bus but I idly asked how much “one of those” would cost, stating that the school would give their eye teeth to have their own vehicle to transport children. I must admit that in the big scheme of things the price sounded really fairly reasonable, but wearing my School Management Team hat I knew that purchasing one would be way out of our school budget.

Mike Labushagne, the sales person asked what we needed transport for and before I knew it, he was offering to transport or Human Movement Team to the festival. All he wanted was dates time and venue he said he would gladly assist! I was amazed.

I told my colleagues about Mike’s offer and they were delighted. When I called Mike to confirm details I asked how much we could contribute for the transport so that I could have a cheque made out to East Rand Toyota. His answer – no charge!

On the 14th August, the day of the festival, Mike himself arrived driving a 14 seater bus. With him were two colleagues who were so enthusiastic about the children that they were photographing them in their colourful outfits. They helped to carry sound equipment, extension chords etc and as we arrived at the school hosting the Festival, each of our team were given a party pack and a ruler by the Toyota employees.

I was astounded at their thoughtfulness and kindness. In this difficult economic climate these folk were giving of their valuable time to help us when they could have been in the showroom making another vehicle sale.

When the Festival concluded, I called Mike to pick us up and he was there within minutes. The children were bubbling over with enthusiasm because they had won the Cluster competition and were selected to perform at the District level competition to be held on the 28th August. They made sure Mike knew of their success and his immediate response was – give me the dates and times of the District competition and we will gladly transport the children again!

What a guy and what a company!


After returning from Germany, where I was once again struck by the levels of service I experienced, it’s always heartening to know that there are those in SA who still try to raise the bar of service regardless of who the customer is.