Great Jobs 23-Expanding
Call-in students were fine, but that relied on expensive phone book ads, newspaper ads, and other media, a smart sales pitch, and even referrals. But there had to be a better way I reasoned.
I had once suggested to Bob, while in one of his sober moments, that getting into school and Institutional programs would increase business.
His reply was, ‘It can’t be done, they have to be teachers’.
The thought crossed my mind, “What the hell are we if we aren’t teachers”?
I thought to myself, what is different with me or some PE teacher that can win a football game for the local school and get a pat on the butt that qualifies him/her to teach driving, and tells me, the greatest driver in the world that I am not qualified? I had finally got back to the point of having a very high regard for my abilities. Hell, I just damn well knew I was good. Great to be back to the ‘Old Leo’.
That was a good thought that occupied my mind for several weeks. One day Charley and I were talking it over at our usual hang out, the corner bar.
“Hey, Leo, don’t put yourself down just because you ain’t got a college education, I ain’t got one either but how many teachers would it take to teach me my job”?
“You got a point, Charley. And I wonder how many PE instructors it would have taken to teach me how to drive over the road and do what I am doing now. What nutty rule ever gave a PE teacher the ability to teach driving any way? Most of them are nail biting coaches, hoping their kids can win a game so they get hired to coach the team again next year, and they are too damn nervous for a job like teaching driving. Since I am the greatest at what I do, I am going to get the necessary certificate”.
“Don’t get carried away, Leo, and don’t get your hopes up, Anita works for Lawyers and they know the politicians. You and her have been doing politics and she likes all that election stuff and it makes her look good too”.
“You hit it Charley, we helped the Speaker of the Missouri House get elected, he was a Lawyer in her office. I did a hell of a lot of door knocking for him, I am going to be knocking on his door in Jeff City first thing next week”.
And I did.
First thing he told me was to know what books and tools were used in the classrooms. No problem there. I knew they used a book that the AAA had endorsed and I already knew the AAA had a lot of films on driver training which could be borrowed and so did the Public Library. Next he called the Missouri Superintendent of Schools to set up an appointment for me. He would want my outline of classroom and training methods.
A couple of day’s work and a sleepless night or two had that all under control and back I went to the Superintendent, who looked over my outline and finally said he could issue a special permit for me to teach in schools or institutions where I had a contract, and when I had a contract he needed a copy.
“Jeez, how easy could that have been?”
Within another week I had an appointment with the Saint Louis Archdioceses Superintendent of Schools, who told me he would honor any school that I could set up. Thank goodness for mom and her push for my Catholic Education, I knew the system, and I still knew a lot of Priests, Brothers, and Sisters. And, I also knew a bit about repentance and bowing and scraping. Just had to hope they were not going to ask for ungodly donations, but I already had in mind something to deal with that. They could collect the money at the schools and I would give them 5 percent of the take. At my rates for the classes and instructions that could be in the hundreds and they got it right off the top. The largest schools I set up classes in each semester. The smaller ones maybe once a year or I combined them.
By the time I had all the schools set up, I had all the Catholic schools in the Saint Louis surrounding area and as far away as Saint Charles county, and Jefferson and Washington counties. There were also two Lutheran High Schools in the Saint Louis area, Lutheran High North and Lutheran High South and I got contracts with them. There were a few other Private and Christian Schools within the 6 adjacent counties surrounding Saint Louis and with a little work I had them all. I was also able to offer classes and training to such places that offered adult education courses, such as the YMCA and the YWCA.
Now all I needed were more cars and instructors.
Watch for Helmer's next chapter on Great Jobs in the November issue.
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