DURHAM, N.C. — A gazebo can be the centerpiece of a beautiful back yard unless it is not finished. When one woman finally got sick of waiting, she called Five on Your Side for help.
If you spend a little time with Merrilee Tomlinson, you can tell she is a happy person.
"I am known to be perpetually positive. That is my name," she said.
Tomlinson has a partially built gazebo in her back yard. In May 2004, Danny Jones from Fuquay-Varina agreed to build it for $2,140. Thomlinson paid half of the money, $1,070, up front.
She said Jones told her it would take three days, but three months later in August, only the floor and some posts were done. Jones finally came back in January and still did not finish the gazebo.
"He calls me sometimes and tells me he's going to be out next week, and then he just doesn't show up," Tomlinson said.
Along the way, Tomlinson said Jones told her everything from his assistant quit, he had another job to complete to he had to help repair someone's house that burned. She said he also told her he had a sick family member and a wedding he was not happy about.
"His daughter was getting married and he was so distraught about losing his daughter that he couldn't focus, so I told him come out and work on my gazebo. It will distract you," Tomlinson said.
That did not work either, so Tomlinson offered to help.
"I've even told him I swing a mean hammer. I'll come hammer with you, but he told me not to do that," Tomlinson said. "I just keep on thinking if you're pleasant and you try to work with them, then he'll come back here and help me."
After about a year of waiting, she finally called Five on Your Side, who called Danny Jones. He told Five On Your Side he had been "really busy," but he scheduled an appointment for the next week, but he did not show.
After more back and forth, he finally showed up and took off the top of the gazebo to re-do it. Thomlinson said she is hopeful he will finish soon. However, Jones did not come back and he had more excuses.
This time, he said his teenage son had back surgery and he had to take care of him. Jones said he will give Tomlinson a refund on Tuesday. Five On Your Side will keep you posted.