Oconomowoc to Green Bay

Driving from Oconomowoc to Green Bay with my wife, Margaret and two sons, Paul & David we had a problem with a tyre as we entered the home of the Green Bay Packers.  After we had put on the replacement wheel we had to find a garage that could complete the change and send us on our way and so we asked a local guy who pointed us in the direction of Ray’s Tyre Service (slightly different way of spelling Tyre but no problem).  This is what the current business says about its services:

Welcome to Ray's Tire

Through the years, we have worked to earn the trust of our customers, and that loyalty has continued through the generations. That means we're now serving the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our first customers from the 1930s.

As a small business, we can offer honest, personal service. We get to know most of our customers by name, and we'll take the time to listen to your needs. We definitely go above and beyond!

We see these sort of words and phrases banded about all to often by companies, especially in Britain, and they always apologise later when they have been found guilty of providing abysmal service.  Imagine our surprise then at what happened to us on our first and only visit to Ray’s.

We explained what at happened at reception and our car was taken away to be worked on while we were provided with drinks, coffee and juice.  In due course the car was returned to us by a chap called Matt Tabak and he chatted to us with great interest, possibly because of our English accents and our interest in the Packers.  The Ray’s Tire statement contains words like “trust”, “loyalty”, “honest” and “listen” and they fulfilled all of their promises and more, much more.  We took our leave of Matt and returned to the Midway Motel in Green Bay to spend a pleasant evening chatting in the bar with other Packer fans.  A few hours later though the telephone rang in our room and the voice introduced himself as Matt Tabak from Ray’s who asked if we would like to visit him and his wife, Pat, in Appleton for dinner.  We were delighted to accept and we have remained firm friends with Matt & Pat and their family over something like 30 years.

Now that is what I call CUSTOMER SERVICE, going above and beyond.

Over the years we have spent time with the Tabak family and our friendship has blossomed and endured.  We stayed with them on one visit and they also sprang a surprise on us when they said that we were all going down to their local bar in Appleton to chat to friends.  On arrival at the bar Matt led the way in and a huge gathering of friends had organised a surprise party for us as can be seen from some of the following photographs.

From left to right,
Matt & Pat’s daughter, Kathy, Terry Ainsworth, Pat Tabak and Margaret Ainsworth

My memory is not what it was particularly for dates but I have no problem remembering events.  We met up with the Matt & Pat on many occasions and I remember attending some sort of event at a big hotel in Appleton and Matt got to sit next to linebacker, Bryce Paup, he couldn’t get over it.  When I told Ray Nitschke about Matt and his love of the Packers Ray immediately gave me a signed photograph to pass on to Matt and boy was he surprised, no doubt that photograph will be hanging in the Tabak household to this day.  Sometimes we would all go to a huge shopping mall in Appleton or visit a local restaurant to eat and remember this all happened because of a faulty tyre and a business called Ray’s Tires.

A favourite photograph of mine showing that wonderful, smiling face of Matt Tabak (centre in striped shirt), I never remember seeing him without that smile.  The guy on the left I think was called “Smokey” but I suppose names don’t really matter when everybody is enjoying the party.  We certainly drank plenty of Miller Lite and talked football on that memorable night.

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Staying with Matt & Pat with Margaret and her favourite dog

Margaret concentrating on playing darts with Kathy to the right keeping well out of danger

I seem to remember there was no shortage of jugs with the golden liquid inside
and here I am giving Matt a refill with two empty jugs in the foreground, a wonderful night.

Always the highlight of any holiday (vacation) was arriving at the Tabak house in Appleton

This experience would never happen in Britain and mostly likely never happen anywhere in Europe either but the people of Wisconsin certainly took us to their hearts as did many more all over America from Texas to Florida and Pennsylvania to the Carolinas.

© Soccer Nostalgia 2017

Design: David Ainsworth