Donna Goodman was a senior citizen living in an Auburn mobile home park, lashed to the whims of an ancient heating and air conditioning system that no longer did either.
Over the last two years, the distressed woman called one local HVAC company 16 times to fix it.
But the system kept conking.
And as season rolled into season, Goodman alternately froze, cooked, suffered and racked up big bills.
“An absolute nightmare,” Goodman said.
One day her neighbor and friend, Karen Shepherd, heard on the radio about a residential HVAC business, Allred Heating and Cooling, and suggested she try it. Twin brothers Dan and Matt Allred founded the company 10 years ago and this past January moved it from Federal Way to Auburn.
“I thought I’d just pay them the money to come out and get a second opinion,” Goodman said.
Two of Allred’s technicians dropped by to assess her HVAC system, and found it beyond saving. They then referred her case to company salesperson Michael Cady, and asked him to pay her a visit and talk with her about ways the company could help.
She showed him the paperwork generated by all those visits.
“Getting to know her a little bit, I found out that she’d bought the equipment years ago and it had been down 16 times in the last two years for repairs,” Cady recalled. “The heat pump wasn’t working right. So she was running off electric heat, and for two to three months in a row, she had electricity bills of $1,000.”
He learned that Goodman’s church had been helping her pay for the incessant repairs and energy bills, which of course bothered her instensely.
“I went back to the office, sat down with the owners and explained the situation,” Cady said. “An hour later, Dan and I went back out to her house, put together a proposal for a super high-efficiency system that would cost very little money to run. We had typed it up at $15,000. She told us nicely there was no way she could afford that.”
“We let her know that we knew that, and told her we were going to do it for no charge,” Cady said.
At that, Goodman broke down in tears — with Shepherd, Allred and Cady joining in for a collective group blub.
On July 30, five trucks and 10 company employees showed up at Goodman’s home, bearing flowers and lunch from Jimmy John’s.
“We made kind of a day of it,” Cady said of fix-it day. “Coincidentally, it was my birthday, so she knitted a blanket for me. I told her, ‘We’re not here for me, we’re here for you.’”
That afternoon, before everything was in place and running, Cady said, he measured the heat mid-house at 90-plus degrees.
“Now it’s 72 degrees,” Cady said. “It’s not going to cost her a lot of money to run that. We had to open up all of her blinds and curtains because it was like a cave in there. Now she gets to decide if it’s hot or cold, and she longer has to worry about crazy repairs and bills.”
“I cannot believe what they did for me,” Goodman said. “It was nothing short of a miracle. They installed a brand-new furnace. They installed a brand-new heat pump. I’ve never seen anything like this. The fan on this thing must be 3 feet tall. It’s huge. I felt like queen for a day. I want to get this one thing in here: God’s hand was all over this, right from the very first phone call. I still can’t believe it. I woke up Friday morning and it was finally nice and cool in here. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”
Cady said the brothers Allred, now in their mid-30s, had worked for an HVAC company years earlier, but left it because they could no longer stand the high pressure it put on guys like them to oversell systems and suggest unneeded repairs and parts.
“Dan and Matt are brothers, and family guys. They always have their eyes out there looking for situations like that. The reality was, this lady was not going to be able to help herself, so we stepped in,” Cady said.