From Survivor to Salesman in Shawano
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
CREATED Apr. 11, 2013
Shawano, WI -- Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life, right? Well if that's the case, there's a salesman in Shawano who hasn't worked in 60 years, just don't try convincing his customer of that.
When it comes to swinging a deal, it would be tough to find anyone with more savvy than 90-year old Reuben Schaetzel of Buss Chevrolet in Shawano. After 60 years, he's still adding to his tally.
"My total car sales is approaching 15,000 cars," said Schaetzel.
He claims that in all that time, he sold just one lemon, his very first car.
"I sold a car to my wife's uncle. Horrible piece of junk."
Schaetzel says the secret to his success is to "Be honest with people. Treat them how you want to be treated."
Reuben's appreciation of his job and day to day life may have something to do with what happened on D-Day when the tank he was driving floundered in the surf off Omaha Beach.
"I said to my tank commander, we're in trouble. He said lets get out of here. That was the last thing he said. We took a direct hit."
Blown out of the tank, Reuben had to find a way to survive in the English Channel.
He said, "I can't swim a lick, but I did that day. I became an Olympic champion swimmer."
For four hours, he clung to wreckage while watching the invasion.
"As far as you could see, wrecked equipment and bodies floating by like lily pads," he explained.
Just one day, unsure of how many more there would be.
"You figure you're going to die, so you just give it your best shot, live day to day."
Some would call him a hero. He says he's a survivor, but he's also very much a salesman. If you really want to make his day, tell a friend in need of a new vehicle to "Go see Reuben Schaetzel. He'll give you a fair deal," he joked.