I just received the following note from a woman named Vickie Fulkerson.
Hello Mark–I just wanted to compliment one of your employees at the Costco in Redding, Ca. On Sunday the 22nd of June my family and friends were driving to Lake Shasta for a Houseboat vacation when the boat trailer had a blow out. We called ahead to Costco in Redding and spoke with Kyle in the tire department. He was very helpful, and when we got there, he had the tires we wanted to purchase ready. He also was very accommodating in taking the old tires off the rims and putting the new ones on. We were out of there in approx. 20 minutes. As a business owner, he is the kind of employee we all want.
I haven’t sent it yet, but here’s my response.
Thank you for taking the time to write, Vickie. It’s gratifying to hear that Costco may somehow have played a part in what must have been a delightful vacation with your friends and family. I’d like to accept your thanks, but, unfortunately, I think you may have been assisted at another branch. You see, there isn’t a Kyle in our tire department. We did have a young man here named Kyle, but that was years ago, and he died after being gutted by an experimental tire removal device. At any rate, thank you for shopping at Costco.
I know it’s not likely, but I figure there’s at least a slight chance that Vickie might believe that her tires were put on by a customer service oriented ghost… Originally I was going to go much darker with it, suggesting that lovable Kyle had been dragged to his death behind a houseboat to which he’d become somehow fastened, but I didn’t have the heart.
My other idea was to go totally urban legend with it, telling the family that “Kyle” was an escaped convict who had been working with a partner on the highway. The plan was for this partner to shoot out the tire of a houseboat, causing the family to seek assistance at Costco, where “Kyle” had assumed the identity of the manager. According to the accomplice, who later confessed, “Kyle” was to stow away until a safe distance away, then kill the family, taking their identities. The main thing motivating me to take this route was that it would allow me to say, “GET OUT OF THE HOUSEBOAT!”