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How we came to know the Walla's


Story printed in the Imperial Valley Press


Joe, Mary Walla of Imperial on receiving end of kind gesture by Stan’s Auto Body

By KARINA LOPEZ Staff Writer | Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 12:50 am



Joe, Mary Walla of Imperial on receiving end of kind gesture by Stan’s Auto Body


Mary and Joe Walla stand in front of their truck Friday in El Centro after the truck was fixed up by Stan’s Auto Body. SERGIO BASTIDAS PHOTOFriday, May 16, 2014


For a number of years, Joe Walla had intended to take his 2004 Nissan truck to get a bit of a makeover after years in the Imperial Valley heat had caused the paint to peel.


However, for one reason or another, the Imperial resident never got around to getting the truck into a local auto body shop for repair.


As a result, the truck went from needing a minor paint job, to nearly a full makeover.


The driver’s side window would no longer roll down and the handle on one of the passenger’s doors had fallen off.


Eventually Joe received a quote from Stan’s Auto Body, then Rosco’s Auto Body and Paint, for what it would cost to repaint the hood and roof of the truck in addition to repairing a dent.


Joe had every intention of taking his truck to get fixed, yet life got in the way once again as it usually does.


Joe was diagnosed with cancer and the truck took a back seat to life’s affairs until his wife, Mary, decided to take matters into her own hands.


Mary said she went back to Stan’s Auto Body to see if the business would be able to honor the quote that was once given to her husband a few years ago.


“They said they could work with me and give me a reasonable price and I think they could see in my face that I really wanted to make this happen,” Mary said.


After seeing pictures of the truck and realizing the original quote would not quite cover the full extent of the truck’s newer blemishes, the local body shop decided to not only honor the old quote, but repair whatever damages it could for no extra cost.


“I can’t say how much gratitude I have for these guys,” Mary said. “They didn’t try to take advantage of me and they honored their word. They were trustworthy and they kept me informed along the way. They’re such good people and you don’t find that very often where people are willing to get the extra mile.”


With a little bit of work, Mary was able to convince Joe to take her vehicle to a recent doctor’s appointment, and she jumped at the opportunity to take his truck to El Centro for its makeover.


Mary said she told her husband Stan’s was going to repair the portion of the truck they said they would long ago and told him it would take about two weeks.


Considering much more work was being done on the truck, two weeks stretched into four and Joe began to get restless.


“I just kept telling him all good things are worth waiting for,” Mary said with a laugh. “Or I’d say the man working on it was out sick. I just kept telling him little white lies because I didn’t want him to go down there and see all what they were doing.”


Luckily, Joe was able to stay patient enough until Mary brought the truck back to their home on Tuesday.


“When I got home I didn’t park in front of the house,” Mary explained. “I pulled up enough so he could hear my honking the horn.”


Mary said her husband eventually came out and saw the truck, and when he did, the look on his face was priceless.


“His face just lit up and it was like he was a little kid again,” she said. “He couldn’t believe everything they had done.”


Joe and Mary had the opportunity to publicly thank Beau Ashley, Stan’s owner and manager, and his staff after the El Centro business hosted a Chamber Mixer here Thursday.


“They wrote us a nice long letter and it was completely unexpected,” Ashley said.


Ashley said he didn’t believe his business was doing anything out of the ordinary, only giving back to the community it receives so much support from.


“Doing business with customers like them is a dream,” Ashley said. “At the end of the day we’re a customer service business that fixes cars and that’s a model we try to live by.”


Mary said she is beyond grateful for the business’ kind gesture, which brought her and her husband a great deal of joy during a very tough period of their lives.


“I wanted to do this for him as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for what he did for me, for our family and our children,” Mary said. “Also, (Stan’s employees) are wonderful people. You don’t find very many people in this world like that anymore.”


Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or

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