July 18, 2007 They say you're only as good as your word, so what does that say about painting contractor Patrick Sherlock, who failed to make good on a promise to remedy a problem he created when painting the silos at Lapeer Grain East during the 4th of July weekend?
When residents complained that overspray from the job left flecks of silver paint on their vehicles and elsewhere, he was agreeable to cleaning up the problem. He even removed the paint from a couple of vehicles that were hit during Sunday service at Trinity Baptist Church.
While only Sherlock can explain why he backed out of a commitment to remove paint from vehicles on Saturday, one thing's certain: A minor annoyance is growing into a major problem for some of the good people in Imlay City.
And good people they are. Sherlock would have seen that had he showed up—or even bothered to call on Saturday. Residents who may have had little in common except for some silver flecks of paint on their vehicles got up early in good faith that their unsolicited problem would be resolved. Lapeer Grain East manager Ray Graham brought coffee and donuts and stayed for the disappointing duration, answering questions and taking names and phone numbers.
People spoke to each other in a friendly, respectful way. Until it was obvious that Sherlock was a no show, most were even willing to give him the "benefit of the doubt," because that's how they treat people and wish to be treated.
There was no angry mob. Despite the letdown, no one became irate, people exchanged ideas about resolving the problem and demonstrated the type of neighborliness that small towns aren't always given credit for.
But that's how it is in a small town, where people realize that you're only as good as your word. Ironically, the Patrick Sherlocks of the world provide all the confirmation necessary.