A Virginia woman took the road less traveled and it very well might have saved her own life.
It is a dream come true for 33-year-old Susan Florance. In February, she started training as a service tech at Pohanka Honda in Fredericksburg, Va. It is one of the largest dealerships in the area. And yes, she’s the only woman.
“It’s not a big deal. I’m just another person and I love my job. It’s a lot of fun and everyone I work with is great," said Florance.
Ray O’Bryhim is the boss. He’s been with the company for 36 years and says getting Florance to come to work for a seasoned veteran like him was still a challenge. He met Florance at her job where she was a server at a local restaurant. She often talked about how much she worked on her own car and that lead to one important question.
O’Bryhim asked, “If you ever want to make a switch in careers, I run a Honda dealership.”
It took Florance years to actually take him up on the offer. Her passion for cars started before she was even able to see over a steering wheel. It was in her blood.
“My Dad did a little bit of drag racing. He got into the Ford Lightening crowd and started racing trucks. It looked awesome. The crowd, the scene, things going on. Cars going fast. I loved everything about it.”
Off the track though, Susan’s life was going fast in all the wrong directions. That led to one big regret.
“I guess the best euphemism is, I was a wayward youth and got away from my family for several years just doing what stupid kids do and unfortunately my dad died before I pulled myself together, so he never saw the person I wanted to be,” said Florance.
Through her pain and soul searching, Florance finally found what she’d been missing, a second chance.
“I didn’t think I would actually be happy. But I know my dad would be super proud of me now. And I know he would love to look at me and see finally some bits of him shining through that are awesome.”
It’s a win for O’Bryhim as well.
“Susan is a breath of fresh air. It’s great to see someone show up with a smile on their face committed to what she’s doing, having fun and she shows up the next day the exact same way. It makes all the difference in the world," he said.
Florance might have taken the road less traveled and a detour, but that has made all the difference. Proof she says that it’s never too late to start living your dream.
“Find something you love, you work toward it and you build a life that’s worth living and it will change everything,” she said.