‘I've Been Converted’

Vietnam Veteran and Former GM Loyalist Buys His Fourth Consecutive Prius
by Dan Miller
May/June 2016
‘I've Been Converted’
Semper Prius
B.J. Weak recently bought his fourth consecutive Prius. The former Marine and GM loyalist, has relied on the iconic hybrid to transport medicine to hospice patients throughout northern and central Kentucky.
Photo by Paul S. Howell
When B.J. Weak was a student at the University of Cincinnati way back when, he had a summer job in the accounting department of a General Motors manufacturing plant. A bit further down the road, he married a women whose father owned a GM brand dealership.
Flash forward to today. Now, after more than a million miles behind the wheel of three different Prius hybrids, there’s no question where the Kentucky native’s automotive loyalties lie.
“I can afford to buy any car I want and I choose the Prius,” says Weak. “I don’t know why anyone would drive anything else.”
Weak speaks from experience. The retiree logged all of those miles in just 11 years, delivering medicine to hospice patients throughout northern and central Kentucky. The volunteer job flowed naturally from his long-time career as a sales manager with Hillenbrand Industries that required him to call on clients throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
A Higher Level of Quality
When Weak made that transition, he was driving a Buick Le Sabre. The full-size sedan’s high rate of fuel consumption led him to consider the Prius.
“A gas crunch came along,” he says. “I figured out that the Prius basically paid for itself, between what I had been paying for gas and what I would pay with the hybrid.”
The Prius’ exceptional fuel economy convinced Weak to buy it the first time around. But he says the car’s smooth ride and bullet-proof reliability led him to buy another. Then another. And another.
Still, the former Marine admits he initially had misgivings about abandoning his domestic roots for a high-tech hatchback made in Japan.
“At first I didn’t like the idea,” says Weak, a Vietnam veteran. “I’m very patriotic. And I’d always been a GM guy. When Toyota first came along, it was kind of like a thorn in my side. But I’ve been converted. I recognize a higher level of quality when I see it. And Toyota is head and shoulders above the rest.”
Weak rolled up some 460,000 miles on his most recent Prius. The car never gave him a lick of trouble, requiring just regularly scheduled maintenance. That changed rather abruptly when a friend, who asked to test-drive the Prius over the weekend with the intention of buying it from Weak, ran into a deer—totaling the car.

Precious Cargo
B.J. Weak recently bought his fourth consecutive Prius from Toyota of Nicholasville. The former Marine relies on his Prius v to transport medicine to hospice patients.

A Higher Level of Service
As such, Weak had no choice but to buy a new hybrid. Lance Royalty, general sales manager at Toyota of Nicholasville in Kentucky, as well as Sales Consultant Catherine Lauderback helped put together the deal.
“I give all the accolades in the world to that dealer,” says Weak. “Every time I go back, they give me another reason to talk them up with my friends and family. The last time around, I bought some all-weather floor mats. Not only did they wash my car, they installed the mats, which they didn’t have to do. And the last thing they said to me was, ‘Is there anything else we can do for you?’ I’ve shopped a lot of dealers. This one is a credit to Toyota. It’s no wonder they’re a President’s Award winner.”
Now 72, Weak says he’s ready to give up his life as a road warrior for that of a snowbird who retreats to the warmth of Florida during the winter months. He has a daughter who lives in Pensacola and a brother near Orlando.
“I’ll still do a lot of driving, but it’ll be between here and Florida,” he says. “Odds are this will be my last car. Given how long they last, it’s going to be the Prius and then a wheelchair!”
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