You ever need gold; I can find it for you. Sometimes I just get lucky that way, and find a gem. I’m not really talking about real gems, but auto mechanics. You say “So what, mechanics are a dime a dozen”? Well here’s the catch; he’s honest! Yes I said it, “honest” a man who is still in business for over 20 years, so successful because he is honest, not your usual auto crook.
When I first met Mike Sabotini I was looking for gas one morning while on my way to work. I stopped at this gas station, filled her up and did it every time I needed gas. When I needed inspections and repairs, where did I go but my man Mike at OK Sabo.
Since those days, he stopped selling gas and concentrated just on service. His station is like family, a messy oily smelly family that you just have to love. He had a big fellow named Joey who was his #1 assistant; a real wise guy but you loved him. He would always kid me, and I would kid him back. One day I was waiting for TLW (The Little Woman) and Joey was standing by the window. “Hey Joe, your wife is here. She’s waving a finger, maybe she means you’re number one?” Funny, very funny.
Joey was a big guy, with a huge appetite for Entenmann’s Cakes, donuts or what have you. He never bathed, being grease stain from top to toe, with dark t-shirts, black genes and shoes. The shirts were usually filthy and had a hole in them, but Joey worked like a dog, helping Mike run his business. One day I got Joey good as it gets. TLW and I were walking one day for exercise, (She was, I was walking to keep her quiet) and I mentioned as we past OK Sabo that I wanted to arrange a time to bring in my car. Who is at the counter but Joey, ready to raze me and I was waiting.
Me: “Joey, how ya doin?”
Joey: “Eh, how’s it goin. See you brought in the better half.”
Me: “Yeah, right, when will my car be ready?”
Joey almost faints, becomes flustered ands hems and haws.
Of course TLW gave it all away on me, trying to be friggen nice as usual, talking away my little pleasures.
TLW: “Oh Joey, don’t pay attention to him, you don’t have our car.”
One Sunday afternoon in June, TLW and I went to a church sponsored bazaar, and who do we see there but Joey with his little kids in hand, a proud papa if ever I saw one. Joey was scrubbed clean, maybe even sandblasted to remove the grease. His clothes were clean and he had a big smile on his face.
Then one day I went to the shop for my car, and asked: “Where’s Joey?” Joey was dead, died suddenly in 40’s, with little kids and now a widow left behind.
Then there was “Pop”, Mike’s Dad. A happy jovial retired gentleman who sat in the shop all day and when you entered, would greet you with a hearty “hello” and ask you all kinds of questions to make you feel at home. You could look forward to the gentleman’s greeting, just a good guy. I wondered how this man ever disciplined his children, or if he could.
Pop too passed on and now my family is getting smaller.