Pay It Forward

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Paying it forward implies an act of kindness with the hope that the recipient will in turn be kind when it is his or her turn. The S2000 has given all of us a sense of owning something significant and very special. It has given us a community that has become woven into the fabric of our lives and we have learned from it as we have given to it. We have found friends who set aside their time to come help us with installs and other projects and advice ranging from financial investments to home buying and tending to one’s garden. By owning the car and belonging to this community, all of us have built a tradition over the last decade and continuing this lies in our hands.

Recently, Nissan has been in the news for attempting to come up with a signal that owners of its Leaf electric vehicle would use to acknowledge one another. MINI has made extensive use of their marketing mavens in coming up with the concept of “motoring” and engineering a sense of belonging among owners of the Cooper. In comparison, Honda did relatively nothing. Poor, clueless, socially awkward Honda that flubbed its Crosstour debut on Facebook, built a car with sound driving principles and not much else beyond norms in terms of marketing. Its project leader and engineers appeared to have been given free rein to design a car provided it was fun, tossable, high-revving, safe and reliable. It must be that team’s good intentions paying forward that people who bought the car, realized that they owned a piece of automotive history and came together and forged what is today our community. “Hellaflush” or race-stripped, if an S2000 owner sights another, one hand goes up instinctively in the air as a smile forms on the face to acknowledge the presence of the other. This is probably what Soichiro Honda meant when he said “Products don’t lie. If a product is really good, it will succeed.”

As a community, we have grown stronger over the past 10 years, forged friendships, ensure that we make room for community events in our personal calendar (planning other stuff around if need be). We have members who have rebuilt cars for their friends, members who have traded in their cars and have then sought out the new owner through S2KI and handed to them all the documents and that were meticulously kept. We have also had members who, having sold their car and moved on, proceeded to share all the parts they have collected to other needy owners at no charge. We have become a community that supports each other in need and takes joy in seeing the happiness on a fellow members face. Were Soichiro Honda alive today, he’d be proud of the kind of community that stemmed from the honest intentions of his engineers.

Paying it forward does not necessarily have a definition. It could range from acknowledging a fellow S2000 owner, to helping a new owner do her or his first oil change or helping someone with a clutch install. It could be encouraging new owners with kinder words to step out into a sea of cones or holding their hand to ensure they have a smooth and trouble-free track day. The fact is that being the close-knit community we are, a benevolent gesture, no matter how small, can only increase in impact as it goes around the community from one member to another.

Those selling the car could educate the new owner about the car so a little part of them lives on with the new owner and also so car and new owner stick with the community. If trading in, one could always ensure that any information they want to pass on to the new owner is securely placed in the secret compartment or they could always do as our member Tadashi did and locate the new owner of her first S2000 and share with him all the paperwork, window sticker and other details that she felt had to go to him. Needless to say, the new owner is a part of S2KI and is much happier knowing the full history of his car and all the special care that was bestowed on it.

As things stand, Honda is clueless about the kind of cohesive unit we are, and with no support from them, it is up to us to preserve our cars and our tradition for the next generation of S2000 owners. Our future and way of life lies in how much we can reach out to them and teach them with our positive gestures to our fellow members. In short, by paying it forward, we ensure we have a future.

What kind of gestures or acts of kindness have you benefited from in this community? Have you or will you ever pay it forward?

Authors note: This post has been inspired by all of you who belong to S2KI and for all the good that you have done. I have benefited immensely both directly and indirectly from your acts, gestures and posts. Let us keep the community spirit going.

Images courtesy of JulieU, NH_S2k_Guy, xtremesq and rehile

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