Bishnu Rai was apprehensive about trading the steady pay and set hours of a forklift operator for performance-based pay and uncertain hours when Rich Dietrich offered him a job of selling primarily used vehicles at Ron Marhofer Auto Mall near Akron, Ohio.
Dietrich, the mall's general manager, had noticed how often Rai showed up at the mall, accompanying friends, family members and acquaintances to buy a car or truck. Despite his broken English, he was the translator and the guy in charge. He helped facilitate at least 50 vehicle sales, said Dietrich.
In September 2015, after taking a year to mull it over, Rai, 36, a native of Bhutan who had spent two decades in a refugee camp in Nepal, agreed to join the Marhofer group's sales team.
Rai said he took the job because the Marhofer employees were friendly and they reassured him that he could make good money. It didn't hurt that his wife thought it was a good idea.
"My wife encouraged me to do this job," which allowed her to quit her part-time job as a housekeeper and concentrate on caring for the couple's two children, ages 6 and 4, and his wife's grandmother, Rai said.
"I was a little bit older and everybody called me and tried to get help from me," he said, explaining why he visited the mall so often before going there to work.
Rai now has a job that is tracking to earn him 50 percent more this year than his previous job.
The hiring allowed the dealership to tap into a growing segment of Akron's market, Dietrich, 36, said. He believes that Rai's presence makes consumers from Bhutan and Nepal more comfortable doing business at the dealership, even when they are not working with Rai directly.