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MONDAY MAN: Solid as a rock

Lisa King

MONDAY MAN: Solid as a rock

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FOR?OVER half a century, he has been one of the go-to people for auto body repairs.
Now, Darnley Rock says he is about to put down his tools for good. Though he has been retired for a few years, the 69-year-old said he continued to do the odd job or a favour for a friend.
“It keeps the body functioning,”?he said with a chuckle. “When you are accustomed working and you stop working sudden so, you does dead. You does just seize up and dead.”  
Rock said that nowadays he sent his residual clients to other repairmen he knew could do a good job. He has thought about getting involved in an auto-related venture, maybe buying and selling cars in parts, but will see if that is a viable option.
The Chapel, St James resident said during his formative years he was hired by several companies and many drivers sought him out for his excellent workmanship.
For over 30 years, he fixed the trucks at WIBISCO and also worked for others including Shell, Cable and Wireless and Jordan’s Supermarket. Rock also had a stint at McEnearney Garage which he left in 1971, after deciding to venture into his own business.
Rock remembers clearly when he was a young man trying to learn the trade, at the time when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
He made sure he acquired as much knowledge as he could about bodywork, painting and auto electrical work, but chose to focus on body repairs.
His thinking was, and has always been, that if you learn a trade and you can do good work, you do not have to worry about anything. He has proven that over the years since 1971, when he decided that he wasn’t being paid enough for his expertise and started his own company.
Rock said he made it a priority to pay income tax and national insurance contributions so now he did not have any financial challenges.  
“I now hear horror stories from friends now that things are tight, are in trouble moneywise,” he said.
That was among some of the many lessons Rock learned as a self-employed man. He said he learned the importance of good work, preserving his good reputation and not robbing or ripping off customers.
He avoided developing a reputation gained by many mechanics of driving around people’s cars, using inferior parts and overcharging. “Once you do honest work and not trick people you would get work all the time. You can honestly believe that,” Rock said.
However, he said a challenge was that some people wanted work done quickly, but he always told them that quality and quick were not a good combination.  
“If want it done properly you have to take the time,” he said.
Rock is not too impressed with many of the young people now entering the field, saying they do not have the same skills as the older folk. “These young people they do not know about repairs. They know about taking off the bumper and putting on a new one, not fixing real damage,”?he said.
Reflecting on his life on the job, Rock said he was heartened by the many people he had met and the work he had done.