Frank Todaro had his back turned when he heard a collective gasp and then silence from workers at his car repair shop, Collision Masters, LLC, at 555 Pearl St. "You could hear crickets," the business' founder recalled.
A customer from South Buffalo, identified only as Mr. King, had asked for an estimate and driven his silver Chevy truck into the shop. The workers' reaction was to profane and racist graffiti scrawled on the sides and rear of the vehicle.
"It was disgusting," Todaro said Wednesday of his personal response to the racist message. "I told him, 'I've gotta get that off for you.' "
Todaro assigned his head painter to search for a chemical that could remove the graffiti, then a technician to apply the chemical. Instead of just two employees managing the situation, eight Collision Masters workers jumped in to help, finishing the job in 30 minutes – work that would typically take a full shift. The shop did not charge Mr. King for the graffiti removal.
The owner took to Collision Masters' Facebook page on Tuesday night to tell the story, and the reaction was rapid. More than 17,000 likes/loves and 5,400 shares of the post have been recorded as of 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. In addition to local TV coverage, the collision shop received a free lunch on Wednesday for its efforts, courtesy of state Sen. Tim Kennedy.
"As the day goes on, it's been an amazing feeling," Todaro said of the deluge of positive response to his business' good deed. "So many people have been calling, feeling bad for [Mr. King] and thanking us for what we did."
Stemming from the incident, an anti-racism rally has been planned for 6 p.m. June 15 in Cazenovia Park.
Customer pulls into the shop today and literally hear crickets when all the air tools and employees stopped and shook...