And so it happened that, one day, one of those generators stopped working. Ford’s best maintenance workers struggled to repair the machine to no avail. Finally, Ford called in his old friend. With Henry Ford and the rest of the plant watching, Charlie wandered around the plant, listened, analyzed and deliberated. Finally, he took a hammer, walked behind the generator and pounded on a section of it. Then he started up the generator and the assembly plant returned to building cars.
Not too long after, Ford received a bill from Charlie Steinmetz for the astounding sum of $10,000.00. Well, Henry Ford did not become wealthy by giving away his money freely. He called up his old friend and expressed his concern at the size of the bill. After all, Charlie had only spent a few minutes at the plant and had done nothing more than hit a generator with a hammer. Charlie apologized. Of course, he would resubmit the bill.
A few days later, Henry Ford received a revised bill from Charlie Steinmetz. It read, for hammering on a generator, $5.00. For knowing where to hammer, $9,995.00. Henry Ford, it is said, paid the bill.