Finding Purpose and a 'Tribe' at Toyota

When his military career ended, David Anderson was looking for a way to translate his skills and transition into civilian life. He found it at Toyota of Kirkland.
by Kristen Pettineo
November 2021


David Anderson served his country proudly in the United States Marine Corps. For five years, the Long Beach, California, native traveled the world – searching for pirates in the Gulf of Aden, deploying to Afghanistan, and criss-crossing various global hot spots in between.
 
Ask him about his experience and he doesn’t hold back. Even if you ask how it ended.
 
“I was blown up on November 10, which is recognized as the Marine Corps birthday, in Afghanistan,” says Anderson. “I was driving an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle to transport marines off of a patrol base, when a rocket hit my vehicle. Shrapnel actually hit my helmet, and I suffered a concussion.  It was a tumultuous deployment, but I consider myself lucky. We lost a lot of guys over there. But at the same time, it helped make me who I am today. Now, I see every day as a gift.”
 
After his injury, Anderson was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2013. But when Anderson returned home, he found himself searching for the same connection and purpose he shared with his military brothers and sisters.


 
“Many veterans, when they leave the military, they feel disconnected,” he says. “They’re searching for a new tribe of people, similar to what they had before.”
 
He went to school for a bit and began driving for Uber. But in 2017, he walked into the Toyota of Kirkland showroom. Not only did he end up buying a car, he also found a job.
 
“I had a great experience that day,” he says. “But I also thought, ‘Hey, I think could sell cars, too.’”
 
It was an easier transition than he expected. Two of his sales managers both had close ties to the U.S. Marine Corps and were well aware of Anderson’s skill set. In the Marines, Anderson became adept at learning complex information, and then relaying it to colleagues in a way that was easy to understand – a skill that he says translates seamlessly into selling vehicles.
 
“Whether it’s explaining a complicated piece of machinery in the military, or explaining how the lease process works to a customer, being able to break that down simply is so helpful,” he says. “Cars can be intimidating to people. It’s a lot easier to sell automobiles if you just put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Whether it’s listening to them and getting them in the right car based on their needs, or helping them understand something that seems complicated.”
 
Anderson knows what he’s talking about: he’s one of the dealership’s top-performing associates, averaging about 20 sales per month.
 
But beyond the numbers, Anderson is perhaps most grateful for the sense of family and community he has found at Toyota of Kirkland. Because of his success, Anderson serves as mentor to his colleagues, advising them on selling strategies and customer service tips.
 
“I’m selling the best cars on the planet,” says Anderson. “And it’s nice to know that if I work hard, I’ll be compensated for my efforts. But mostly, I’m just so grateful for the team here at Toyota of Kirkland for giving me this opportunity. And especially for their recognition of my success. To be recognized and be seen… that’s filled a huge void I felt when I left the military. I feel valuable again. And after everything I’ve been through, I couldn’t be happier to be here and be part of this tribe.” 
 
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