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Suzette washes cars for her children

Published: 
Monday, July 4, 2016
Suzette Crevier hoses down a vehicle in the carpark on the corner of New and St Vincent streets, Port-of-Spain.

Every day, except Saturdays, single mom Suzette Crevier, slender and pretty, dons her jersey, jeans and rubber boots and heads off to work at Coop’s Car Care to wash cars.

The 35-year-old mother of three and her working partner wash between 15 to 20 cars for the day, sometimes taking out the seats and shampooing and polishing them too. They also power wash people’s rugs, couches and yards.

Crevier is the only female from Coop’s out on the field with the company’s mobile car wash. Most times they do not get a shady area to work and have to wash cars under the blazing sun, making the job extra hard.

She works alone sometimes too, like the month she washed ANSA McAL’s Ford cars all by herself.

“Yes, I feel exhausted at the end of the day but something keeps me up. I don’t know...,” she said of her work.

“I don’t like to depend on anybody. I will make any sacrifice for my children.”

Crevier said her prayers and faith also sustain her. 

“I really believe the Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want. Once you have Him, you have nothing to worry about.” Her day finishes around 5 pm and she heads back to her St Augustine home to spend the evening with her four-year-old daughter, Abeni.

Crevier and Abeni kneel down every night before bedtime and pray together. 

“I taught her how to pray and now every night she asks me to do it. After my daughter goes to sleep, I crash.”

Crevier’s two other sons, 12 and 14, stay with their father and grandparents and come to spend every weekend with her.

The next morning she drops off her daughter at her preschool and heads out again for another day’s work washing cars. She and her colleague travel all over Trinidad in a panel van loaded with all their car washing equipment and work mostly on office compounds and in public car parks. She has actually grown to like it.

“I like it. Some people may feel washing cars is a piper thing but it is really a skill,” she beamed. 

“I didn’t have a clue about car care when I started at Coop’s a year and eight months ago. I learnt all this from nothing. When I’m finished detailing (cleaning) a vehicle I get a good feeling.” 

Crevier said she is also comfortable with her earnings, adding how much they make is really up to them.

“The pay is structured so we can get half the day’s earnings and the rest goes to the company.”

You may not guess it, but Crevier has an artist hidden inside her. She can draw, paint and even sing. For now though, she has no particular other career goal in sight. 

“I just want to be a success at whatever I do.”

Crevier said high school was tough and she could not apply herself to her schoolwork because of the death of her mother, whom she loved dearly.

“She died of cancer when I was 12 and just preparing to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment examinations.”

Crevier passed for El Dorado Secondary School and graduated with four passes.

“The whole secondary school process was kinda tough without my mother. I was really broken up. I was not close with my father at the time. I was very close to her. I am the spitting image of my mother.” 

Her mother died 23 years ago on January 19, 1993, and to this day, Crevier breaks down every time that day comes around. 

“It’s still hard without her. On the anniversary of her death I just can’t function. I break down on that day. The pain of not having my mother around drives me to always want to be there for my children,” she said. She said after high school she took up a job at a Lotto outlet but had to work long hours for a salary that did not meet her needs.

“I remember one day I needed to buy a tin of milk for my baby and all I had was $5. I prayed and got the money for the milk, and more, in the most unusual way.” She said she prayed for a better job and a friend recommended her to Coop’s Car Care. 

She advised women who may be in unfortunate situations not to “lower themselves” but go out and work for their own dollar.

“There is work out there. You must not say you can’t do this or you can’t do that. There are always new things to learn.”