Neighbors and customers have shown ‘overwhelming’ support for the beloved car repair shop owner as he recovers in hospital from serious injuries.
HOUSTON — A long-time mechanic in Houston Heights Neighborhood was seriously injured on Friday morning when he was approached by a man who stole a car he was repairing.
Tarfin Micu, 65, was run over by the suspect as he tried to stop the thief from taking the car.
Micu is still in the hospital and her auto repair shop remains closed.
“Being a victim of this kind of violent crime at 7 a.m. is not something you expect,” neighbor and client Brian Laney said.
Laney arrived at Automotive Fixers shortly after the incident.
“I saw Tarfin lying on the ground in pain,” Laney said.
Micu’s wife, Crina Micu, had just stopped by the store and watched the attack as it happened.
“At first I didn’t know exactly what he was doing, but by then it was too late,” Crina said.
She watched the man take the wheel, fighting for control of the car.
Tarfin was halfway inside the vehicle clinging to the steering wheel as the thief tried to escape.
The car crashed into the neighboring business, Tarfin fell to the ground and was knocked down by the car.
Tarfin broke his hip, each of his toes, and several other bones. He is still in the hospital facing a long convalescence.
“He worries about the business because it’s our only livelihood.” Crina said.
She and her husband came to the United States 30 years ago as political refugees from Romania.
After decades of hard work, she says they have achieved the American dream.
The beloved mechanic is well known in the highlands and often fixes cars for free for neighbors who can’t afford to pay.
“He works every day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., whether it’s 100 degrees outside or 20 degrees outside, he works here,” Laney said.
Knowing what the family could lose, Laney decided to help Crina with a Gofundme account.
Within days, the response was tremendous.
“Something like over $50,000,” Crina said.
Neighbors and strangers showed up with money, cards and even hand-colored pictures.
“To make him feel better,” said a boy who walked towards the repair shop with pictures he had taken for the Micus. “It’s a note to make him feel better.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Crina Micu.
The wife says the aide is helping them keep the business going while it’s closed as Tarfin Micu recovers.
Crina Micu says the unexpected support and encouragement from strangers helps them stay last Friday in the past.
“It upsets me a bit,” Crina Micu says as she recounts what happened. “But when you see the kindness of the people around us who have stood up for us and their love, it all goes away.”