ST. CHARLES, Ill. A notice to the people of northeastern Illinois: If Steve Jaskowski catches you enjoying your work, he just might steal your carand that's not a bad thing.
The store manager for Suburban Tire Auto Care Centers' St. Charles location is making an effort to give back to the community by doing nice things for inspirational, hard-working locals who don't get the recognition they really deserve, he said.
As his first victim, Mr. Jaskowski selected Mike McHugh, a music teacher at Grand Reserve Elementary School in Yorkville, Ill., where Mr. Jaskowski's children attend.
We were at one of the concerts. The kids were doing a concert, and I just noticed how inspiring this music teacher was, he said. He just gets into his work. You could tell he wasn't doing it for the paycheckhe was doing it because he really loves what he does.
Rather than getting a gift card for Mr. McHugh, Mr. Jaskowski wanted to thank him on a more grand scale.
Me, being a little over the top, I started thinking about different things we could do, he said. I noticed he drives an older Kia Optima. So I said I should take his carsteal it one morningtake it back to our shop, fix it up, overhaul it, bring it back and surprise him.
Mr. Jaskowski said he first contacted Mr. McHugh's wife and the school principal to discuss the plan and to make sure the teacher wouldn't come out on a break and think his car was stolen. Suburban Tire picked up the car from the parking lot on the morning of May 8 and spent two hours mounting new tires and wheels on his car, replacing the brake pads and rotors and detailing it.
We actually did a plus-one fitment so it would look a little nicer, he said. We put the latest Yokohama tire on his car. We went with top-of-the-line stuff.
When the company brought the car back to the store and presented it to Mr. McHugh, he was taken aback, Mr. Jaskowski said.
Mr. McHugh may be the first member of the community to get such a treatment from Suburban Tire, but he likely won't be the last, according to Mr. Jaskowski.
I think we're going to do it again, he told Tire Business. To me it was just a great way to give back to the community. It seemed to go over really well.
...This was just a feel good kind of story, and a nice thing to do. There was no hidden agenda, he continued. A lot of people asked me what I got out of it, and I said, 'We got our picture in the paper.' Other than that it was just to say, 'Job well done.'
Next time, Mr. Jaskowski said he would like to turn it into something biggerperhaps through partnership with some local vendors. As for when and how Suburban Tire will choose the next person to recognize, that has yet to be decided.
I don't know. This one was just something where I've seen him three or four times and he just really loved his job, he said. It's hard to work with kids, but to get kids to get up and sing and act and get past that nervous point is tough to do. I mean, I have 12 employees and it's hard to motivate people, and to have a music teacher that's able to inspire these young kids just amazes me.
I've got three kids and it's hard to make it three or four hours, he added. He's got 30 kids all day long. When you see him, and you see how he interacts with the kids and he gets these kids that are shy to interact and try something new, that's special. And that's what we're looking for.
Suburban Tire, which was founded in 1976, operates locations in St. Charles, Hanover Park and Glendale Heights, Ill.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6148.