What Kindness Means To Me: Christina Stai

An Angel in Disguise

Ten years ago, I was living in California near Los Angeles, attending college full-time, and working part-time doing in-home work with young children and their parents.

I loved my job, but when my car started to give me some problems, it became stressful when I had to worry about how or if I could get to my clients.  Unfortunately, I was relatively new to the LA area and had no clue how to find an honest mechanic.  Thankfully, I was referred by a good friend to a place called Steve’s Express, which was located in Granada Hills only a few miles from my college campus.

The first time I went there, I met a man named Mike.

I knew immediately that I had found an honest man and a good place to take my car. I mentioned I had been having some problems with my car and that I was concerned about the cost because I had a German car (aka more expensive to fix!) and wasn’t making that much money. Mike gave me a student discount on my oil change, and that discount was applied every time I brought my car back in.

Mike also began a very tedious process of trying to “diagnose” my car.

He took the time to explain each step to me, willingly showing me where on my car he was working and why. It was a long and grueling process. He’d think he had the problem resolved, yet only a few days later my check engine light would be on again and I’d be back in the shop. He did everything he could think of, and then was humble enough to suggest that I take my car to a person who specialized in German cars. I agreed to do this and took my car to a place he referred. The mechanic there was nice, but was really pushy about me getting something done on my car that I didn’t think was necessary. I called and asked Mike about it, and he consulted with me without hesitation. He was honest about what my car did and didn’t need to remain safe and drivable.

Mike continued working with me and my car for over 5 years, and throughout the entire time period he never once charged me for any of the labor that was put into my car.

That alone saved me thousands of dollars, something I desperately needed yet was humbled to receive. Not only that, but he would routinely give me a ride home if my car was in the shop, would pick me up to get my car if I didn’t have a ride, and even stayed after hours because I didn’t get off work in time to pick my car up before the shop closed. I eventually made the decision to get rid of my car (which I later discovered was a lemon) and bought a new one. I was only able to do this because of the money Mike had saved me.

Being that it was a new car, and a Honda at that, I barely had to do anything to it aside from some oil changes. That meant I was only at Steve’s about twice per year.  After a while I started noticing that Mike wasn’t there as often. I didn’t think too much of it and never really asked anyone about him when he wasn’t there, assuming he maybe just had shifted his hours or was in at different times than I was.

Then, one day when I brought my car in for another routine oil change, I noticed a letter posted on the wall of the shop…

It had a picture of Mike on it, and was a notification to all of Steve’s Express customers that Mike had passed away a few days before, after losing a long battle with cancer. I was in shock—Mike had been sick for years and I had never even known. During a time when he would have had every right and justification to be self-focused, Mike instead spent those years being a blessing to me and ensuring that I was taken care of. I felt humbled that he would make the choice to do so much for me without hesitation, even in the midst of his own struggle.


I will be forever grateful for Mike’s kindness toward me. During a time when I needed it most, I strongly believe that he was put into my life for that specific time and purpose. To me, he was like a guardian angel, looking out for me not because he had to, but because he genuinely wanted to. Thank you, Mike.




Cindy Anderson

Author: Cindy Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Clinical Child Psychologist. She also owns Hope Springs Behavioral Consultants. Dr. Anderson has achieved a high degree of specialization in working with children and families. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and completed APA Accredited internship and postdoctoral training in Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology. She prides herself as a life-long student and tries to learn something new every day.

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