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Car wash offers second chances

  • Bobby Patterson buffs the wax on the top of the car in the garage at Kings N Queens Car Wash (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News).
  • Car wash owner Cecilia Scott chats with Coach Charlie Smith as he waits as his car is cleaned at Kings N Queens Car Wash on DeRenne Drive. The coach brings his car in a couple times a month and enjoys the family atmosphere. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)
  • Donald Bradd power washes a car at Kings ‘N’ Queens Car Wash on DeRenne Drive. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News).

Cecilia D. Scott believes everybody deserves a second chance.

All nine employees at her Kings ‘N Queens Car Wash have served time in prison.

And Scott not only gives them a job, she mentors them.

“The first thing we do: They come in with a correctional ID. We tell them they need to go to the DMV and get a Georgia ID.

“Next we tell them ‘start saving money. If you’re living with someone, you’ve got to contribute. You’ve got to start saving so some day, you can get your own place.

“And you’ve got to learn what you can so you can build up respect — work on keeping your name clean.’”

Plus, she encourages them to find a better paying job

“You cannot feed a family working at a car wash. So we impress on them ‘do more.’ This is just a beginning for them,” said Scott, whose husband Alvin spent time in prison and knows first hand the hard transition to life on the outside.

“We always encourage them to do better,” she said.

Head detailer Bobby Patterson spent 17 and a half years in “every prison in the state of Florida — they transfer you a lot” — for drug sales and drug possession.

“I never used drugs, but I was selling drugs…like crack, powder (cocaine),” Patterson said.

Patterson said he was thankful Scott gave him a job.

“Call Mr. or Mrs. Scott, and they’ll give you a second chance,” he said.

A lot of people won’t hire you because you have a criminal record, Patterson said, but not the Scotts.

“They treat you like family. If you’re honest with them, they want to hire you. You just have to come clean-shaved, presentable for an interview,” Scott said. “I haven’t been in trouble for about 10 years. I’ve been here now for about a year.”

Patterson said he gets paid based on the car he washes — $10 for a wash on a truck, $26 for a wax on a truck plus tips.

“It’s like being a self-contractor. Every day you go home with money in your pocket,” Patterson said. “I teach the guys that come here. I teach them how to buff a car, wash a car. It’s like a school and you have to have the right mentality especially dealing with people.”

Patterson said he has been offered other jobs but has turned them down because he really likes working at Kings N Queens.

The car wash was 2 years old on March 21.

“My husband got the idea,” Scott said.

He had retired as a longshoreman for medical reasons.

“One day, he said, ‘Honey, lets do a car wash,” Scott recalled.

“We were picking up my grandchild from daycare when we saw an abandoned gas station.”

They rented it, renovated it and repainted it. And they settled on prices.

Now it’s $20 for a complete cleaning inside and out, a detailing shampoo for $65, a wax for $65, clean headlights for $25 and clean the engine for $25.

Their customers come from hospitals, a funeral home, nearby businesses — from all over Savannah, Richmond Hill and South Carolina.

The Lord has been good to them, Scott said.

“God put us here in the corner for a reason.”

 

ABOUT THE BUSINESS

What: Kings & Queens Car Wash

When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: 1170 E. DeRenne Ave.

Contact: 912-349-7350

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In Case You Missed It