Back in early 1994, Yukon’s Jackie Cooper called me at the newspaper office from his Mazda dealership in Norman to let me know that the all new Mazda Millenia was now on his showroom floor.
Jackie always started his conversations by asking me if I was sitting down, if I could spare a minute or two of the time I was spending counting my hundred dollar bills to talk to him or to ask me if I could send Randel Grigsby over to the BMW store to test drive the new James Bond car!
Mr. Cooper knew how to work everyone when it came to selling cars and he pretty much had you figured out before he got you on the phone or on the showroom floor. Anyway, Jackie told me that he wanted to get someone of my prowess in the Yukon community (he was BSing me) into a Mazda Millenia so that others in Yukon could enjoy the fine craftsmanship and perfection in a car they so rightly deserved. (Cooper had a B.S. degree in B.S.)
He asked me if I could pull “just a little money” out of my vast wealth in the stock market ($3,900) and meet him in Norman on the “Mile of Cars.” I agreed mostly because I just loved this guy’s style and respected who he ran around with, and because his Yukon Galleria General Manager John Holt spent about $10,000 a month on his newspaper advertising. I knew they always talked and I wanted to support the same Yukon people that supported us.
I went to the bank and got 39 $100 bills and headed south on I-35 to Norman. I met Mr. Cooper on the showroom floor of the Mazda store where he already had that Millenia ready to deliver to Mr. Randy Anderson. (so the sign read).
Cooper saw me and hustled over to get me a soda and the paperwork he had already prepared. He told me what the payment was going to be after my down payment and that he wanted me to trade it back to him once I hit 50,000 miles so he could get me into a deal that was going to happen in the near future. (My oh my Jack, what could it be?)
I gave the Messiah my $3,900, signed my contract and off I went. I drove that car that Mr. Cooper had sold me for about two years until the odometer rolled right up to the 50,000 miles.
In May of 1996 my newspaper office phone rang and guess who it was? But of course, it was Jack calling to ask me if I was ready to take things to the next level! Mr. Cooper informed me that Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer had just turned in the BMW 750 he had been driving while the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXX and he and Switzer both agreed that this special car should be owned by the biggest Dallas Cowboys fan in the world. (Of course, that was me.)
The next day, that beautiful car was delivered to the newspaper office (still with the windshield paint that read Barry Switzer’s demo) for me to drive for the weekend. I couldn’t believe it! Or maybe I could believe it but was just too stunned to understand it all.
That weekend, my now ex-wife, my mother and stepfather rode around the OKC metro area in that car to all the Parade of Homes. You just can’t believe how many people wanted to sit in it and have their picture taken with it. I even had one lady ask me if I was the kicker for the Dallas Cowboys.
I thought about that car this week. I thought about Jackie Cooper this week. I was driving by the dealership in Edmond that still bears his Cooper name. I miss that guy. I think a lot of people miss that guy. He just had a way of getting in your pocket and making you feel good about it.
I got an email from Wesco Insurance co-owner David McKinney this week. David once showed me a photo of his grandpa Glen McKinney standing next to Jackie Cooper and the new Lincoln Continental Glen had just purchased from Jackie. In the photo Jackie has his hand in Glen’s pocket as they have their photo taken in front of that beautiful Lincoln.
I’m glad to have known guys like Jackie Cooper, who have gone on before me. I can’t carry his bags when it comes to making deals on wheels or forecasting sales of big ticket-items. He was the master and there is not another person like him. He knew the puppy-dog closing technique, he knew how to make you feel special and unique and he would sit out there at that Yukon dealership and eat a bologna sandwich on a Saturday afternoon with the rest of those used car salesman and wait his turn for a customer.
I’m glad I got to experience Mr. Cooper and how he did his part to build Yukon. I don’t think there is anyone in this town who will disagree with me.
Like his old radio commercial used to say, “Drive with a name you know….Jackie Cooper.”
Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?”