Modern Tire Dealer

Handbook 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 31 of 61

P e r f o r m a n c e H a n d b o o k 2 0 1 9 30 With lights flashing and tools in hand, it's Captain Friendly to the rescue Captain Friendly, alias Antonelli manage- rial folks Dave Zombotti or Russ Belcher, cruises the Rochester freeway network in search of stranded motorists. ey are in constant radio contact with both the radio station disc jockey and the traffic helicopter provided by Norcross Helicopter Service of Rochester. When a stranded motorist is spotted, the Captain zooms to the rescue, offering any help that he can — supplying gas, replacing an alternator belt, charging a battery or changing a tire. e service is free of charge, but if the motorist insists on paying, he or she is urged to make a contribution to the WVOR charity program called "e Heart of Gold," which offers financial aid to needy persons in the Rochester area. Joe DePaolis, Antonelli Tire president, was instrumental in creating this unique community service program, along with WVOR Vice President Jack Pulvino. DePaolis is quick to point out, "We really do not make any attempt to commercialize the Captain Friendly program. We treat it as the com- munity service that it is. e resulting positive public relations benefit to Antonelli Tire is simply a natural by-product." During the second and third days of my visit, I rode with the Captain during the prime-drive-time cruises from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. While I was with him, Zombotti came to the aid of five motorists. Among the stranded was one fellow who had recently replaced the brakes on his car and had misadjusted the rear shoes and, as a result, was experiencing severe drag. In each case, aer helping the person, Zombotti refused any payment. Instead, he handed each driver a small information packet that describes the Captain Friendly program, Antonelli Tire services, and the "Heart of Gold" charity drive. By Mike Mavrigian Group Technical Director No stranded motorist is too elusive for the Captain, who has so far tallied more than 3,900 roadside emergency stops. Antonelli Tire provides the "Captain Friendly Courtesy Crusier." P a s t , P r e s e n t , F u t u r e : M o b i l e T i r e S e r v i c e

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