Repair Guy Shows There Really Is “Goodwill Toward Men”


It’s 5 a.m. There’s two inches of snow on my steep driveway. It’s twenty degrees with the wind chill. And my snow blower’s broken. It won’t start. I pull that stupid rope starter thing about sixty times. Still won’t start. You know that noise, kinda like a wheezing sound? It was doing that.

Now I’m mad. A little winded… and mad. I drop a few F-bombs under my breath. Sorry about that. But truth is, I’m alone. I’m outside. It’s cold. No one’s listening. It’s the old saying “if an f-bomb drops in the woods and no one hears it… does it really make a sound?” I digress.

I shovel. I salt. I drop my snow blower into the back of our SUV and head to Yablonski’s Small Engine Repair. Ed runs the place. It’s in Bridgeville, PA, just south of Pittsburgh, on the main drag, Washington Pike. The front, side, rear even inside the business is littered with hundreds of broken down, busted up, worn out lawn mowers, snow blowers… and just plain old junk.

Ed calls it scrap. “I use ’em all for the parts,” he says. Okay. Parts is parts, or so I hear. Oh. Ed’s got three cats too. Old timers. Felix… Baby… and George. The cats lay motionless in and around the broken down mowers and other junk. It’s a “Where’s Waldo” game of sorts.

Ed takes my snow blower and says “Hey Marty. I’ll take a look and give yinz a call.” (FYI, “yinz” is a Pittsburgh thing, a contraction of “you ones” that means “you” in this case). I trust Ed. He knows his stuff. He’s been doing it for more than forty years. My dad had him fix our things for as long as I can remember. He’s amazing.

Ed calls me a few days later… leaves a message: “Hey Marty. Your snow blower’s fixed.” It was. Ed started it with one tug. He told me I had a bad spark plug. He changed it out and bingo, all better. I said “How much do I owe ya?” He replied “Nuttin’ Marty. Merry Christmas.”

I got emotional and broke into a big smile. “Ed. I can’t do that. I just can’t.” He smiled back and started to walk away. I quickly stuffed forty bucks in his back pocket and took off. Still. The deed was done. A tremendous act of kindness from a man who lives “above the shop” and gladly fixes things you can’t find anyone to fix anymore.

So, there is a Santa Claus. There is a Christmas. Strangers are kind. There is a semblance of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men.

It was small gesture by a good man with a big heart. I’ve heard since that Ed does this a lot. Why can’t we all just do this a little?Just something little every day… to make a difference for someone else? It’s what we love here at Sparkt… where we ask everyone to #StartSomethingGood.

Oh. And my snow blower works! Thanks Ed!

About Marty Griffin
Marty is a past recipient of three prestigious Regional Emmys for Outstanding Investigative Reporting and also won a Broadcast Achievement Award for an undercover story about Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys. He was named the Best Talk Show Host in Pittsburgh in 2008 for the Pittsburgh Achievement in Radio Awards. Marty shakes things up weekdays 9 am to noon on KDKA Radio.

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