I’ve been meaning to tell a brief story about a person I met about 6 weeks ago, named Jason Fike. I’ll keep it brief.
It was June 26th. I was excited about picking up my wife and kids from Seatac airport, as they were flying home from Japan and I had about 90 minutes to kill before their arrival. I had just finished a business meeting with a colleague and decided to get some lunch before heading down to the airport.
When driving to a local favorite pho shop, I had noticed the faint smell of coolant, and hoped/prayed it wasn’t coming from my van. Upon arrival at the restaurant, I stepped out of the van into a puddle of green fluid. Yep. It was me. Dang.
Now, if anyone knows me well, they know this sort of thing just freezes me. I’m really only good at a few things in life, and mechanics isn’t one of them. I had no idea where to start, so I did what anyone pretending to try and fix a car would do….. I opened the hood. After propping it up, I saw that there was a burst hose near the back of the engine. I did my best to force it back on (it was a high pressure hose, I guess) and started up the car again. It immediately shot right back off and started shooting coolant all over the engine, me, and the ground under the car.
At that moment, a man in a large contractors truck stopped next to me in the lot. I made eye contact and he motioned to me that he saw I was in some sort of dilemma. After shutting off the van, he came over and offered to help me out. His name was Jason Fike. (Get used to that name)
After getting his hands dirty attempting to tighten the busted hose to the terminal, we started it up, but it just wouldn’t hold. So, Jason rummaged through his truck until he found something that would tie it down. After spending a good 10 minutes, we gave it a go. It held for about 10 seconds. Now what.
Jason suggested we head down to the local Home Depot and get a tie strip that holds rubber to pipes…. basically a plumbing fix, albeit temporary. He drove me down and we started chatting.
After picking up the hose repair, we headed back and Jason spent about 20 minutes working on tightening it down. It was a very hard spot on top and back of the engine… no clearance and the hose was definitely stretched to the max. Somehow, Jason made it work. After a bit, we started up the car and the fix held. We left the van running and I offered to buy Jason lunch for his trouble. He accepted and ordered lunch, while I washed my hands and ran off to pick up my family at the airport.
Before I left, Jason comes running out and gives me his card with his phone number on it. He also gives me some of the food I had just ordered for him and tells me I need some nourishment. He tells me that if the car has any issues, call him and he’ll help. After thanking him profusely, I drive off to the airport.
About a mile away, I am pulling onto I-405 and smell that smell again…. believing I’m just burning off the fluid from the engine, I don’t worry too much, but it does make me nervous. After a short while, while merging onto the freeway, it’s apparent that the fix didn’t hold, so I get off the freeway to a park and ride. Per Jason’s kind instructions, I give him a call. I don’t know what else to do. He asks where I’m at, and offers to come help. Again.
When he arrives, we work on the fix again, but it’s obvious we aren’t going to get it to hold. So, we call AAA and wait. Jason knows I’m stressed about my family at the airport and offers to drive me to pick them up. Seriously.
By now, my daughter Kaiya has arrived and offers to help as well. Kaiya was planning on being there because she was excited to see her family again, but now we’d need her help to bring luggage and family to the hotel we’d be staying at that evening. We lock up the van and Jason drives me to the airport.
After arrival, we discover the flight was delayed. Then, we discover that they’ve misplaced our car seats for the kids, which means my family is stuck behind customs until they get all the stuff. We waited at the airport over 90 minutes. All the while, Jason kindly stood by, offering anything he could and never complained… not once. Not only did he not complain, but he smiled and just seemed to enjoy being a part of the whole chaotic scenario.
Finally, my wife comes out and we gather up the luggage and leave the airport. Jason takes the boys and I (he has an extended truck) and my wife and Cadence ride with Kaiya back to Bellevue to our airport.
After 30 minutes in traffic, even via the HOV lane, we arrive in Bellevue, just in time for AAA to have me sign off on the van and hand over the keys. Kaiya takes my wife and daughter to the hotel. Jason then drives us over to the hotel as well, where he waits about 35 minutes as I unload our entire luggage load over the course of 10 or so trips. Thank God for his truck. Tomoko brought a lot of stuff back from Japan.
I realized as I was unloading that Jason quietly helped, never complained and was actually keeping my boys entertained. What was really shocking amidst all of this was that I was actually trusting a stranger to watch over my boys as I ran items up to the room. I just knew he was a good guy. Who else would do something like this? Finally, I finished the unload.
At this time, Jason offered to take me to the rental car location to pick up a temporary since I needed to drive about 150 miles the next day and a taxi wasn’t going to work. Jason took another hour out of his day to do this, ensuring I had the keys and all was well with my transportation.
So, here’s the point of all this: Jason, the kindest man I’ve met in a long time, deserves our business. Our friendship. Our trust. He’s an amazing man who gave and gave and gave and asked for nothing in return. No gas money. No promises. Nothing. Just a good man doing good things because he was there and had the heart for it.
Hook him up, people. Hook him up. Jason Fike.