Community Rallies Together to Support Local Business Owner
Fixers Tire & Automotive has been assisting Heights residents for years. After owner and operator Tarfin Micu was badly hurt on the job as a result of a crime, the community banded together to support Tarfin, his family, and the business. A GoFundMe campaign set up by loyal customers has already amassed over $70,000 as of this writing, the proceeds of which will be used to help Tarfin heal, help support his family, and allow the Micus to continue to run Fixers Tire & Automotive after Tarfin’s recovery.
Family Business on Pause Due to Crime
Located right off Heights Boulevard, Fixers Automotive has been a beloved neighborhood staple for decades. As the only mechanic in the shop, owner Tarfin Micu has been known to work for six to seven days a week to make sure his customers’ needs are fully met. Whether it’s blazing hot or freezing cold outside, one thing was always for certain: Tarfin would be operating the family business to help residents get back on the road. From 7 AM to 7 PM, customers could count on Tarfin to be at the repair shop to offer his services and automotive advice.
However, a senseless crime has now left Tarfin severely injured and unable to work. When a nicely dressed man walked into his shop and made casual conversation at around 7 o’clock in the morning on January 14th, the last thing Tarfin expected was that the man would jump into his customer’s car and steal it. Believing that one should always do the right thing, Tarfin attempted to stop the theft by reaching into the driver’s side window to shut off the engine. Crina, Tarfin’s wife, was just pulling into the parking lot as the fast-moving situation unfolded. She didn’t know what to make of what she saw until things got out of control. Tarfin was hit, dragged, and run over by the perpetrator as he fled with the customers’ vehicle.
The suspect escaped after slamming the car into a nearby barbershop. This kind of chaos is unusual for the Heights and left locals feeling shaken. Crina Micu explained that local police and the Heights Fire Department responded “quickly and professionally to help Tarfin and get him to the hospital.” After a painful day in the ICU, Tarfin underwent surgery the next day to begin repairing the injuries he sustained.
The Micu family as featured on GoFundMe.
Tarfin is now healing from a broken foot, broken rib, broken hip, and a cracked vertebrae. He also broke every one of his toes. Since Tarfin is the sole provider for his family, the injuries affect the Micu family in more ways than one. Although he has now been discharged from the hospital, he faces a long road to recovery that has left his family’s livelihood in the balance. According to the GoFundMe page set up for the Micu family, Tarfin will need to heal for at least six months before returning to work.
At present, the family is evaluating physical rehabilitation facilities where Tarfin can recover his mobility and receive professional pain management. Tarfin just turned 65, and his Medicare has not yet been activated. As a result, the family may need to pay out of pocket for his care. The family’s initial $60,000 fundraiser goal mostly covered business and personal expenses during Tarfin’s recovery – not this unforeseen medical expense. For the family, the attack could not have come at a worse time.
Since the Attack
If you’re curious about updates related to the suspect, good news: after using a pit maneuver to halt the car and prevent a dangerous chase, the suspect has been taken into custody, and the stolen red Cadillac was recovered. After being stolen, the vehicle became associated with numerous armed robberies in parking lots, including one at the Walmart on Silber Road. Two additional suspects were apprehended.
Hard-working Right From the Start
To those who have never had the pleasure of meeting Tarfin, there are a few important things to know about him. For one, he immigrated to the U.S. from Romania in 1979 as a political refugee. In 1987, he moved to Houston and has called it home ever since. He and his wife, Crina, opened Fixers Automotive in 1993 to fill a gap in the need for honest auto repair services in the Heights. Their affordable services have been a boon to customers who might not otherwise be able to repair their vehicles. In fact, the couple often offer free repairs to help out their neighbors in need. Tarfin’s community spirit extends beyond his garage, though. There’s a good chance you’ve seen him out and about volunteering to help with local events. For example, despite his long hours in the repair shop, he enjoys setting up bounce houses for the kids on Easter. He takes pride in staying active and in contributing to the community he adores, so the recovery forced by his injuries is especially frustrating to him.
Fortunately, the Heights is more than just any old neighborhood composed of businesses and houses. It’s a tight-knit community, and that support has touched the Micu family in several ways. Within just a few days, Tarfin’s story reached news stations and automotive enthusiasts across the South, and the GoFundMe campaign set up by a customer and neighbor reached $50,000 and continues to climb. Neighbors and strangers alike have visited the shop to deliver money, cards, and well wishes. One boy even dropped off a hand-colored note to lift Tarfin’s spirits.
After serving in the Heights for many years, the Micu family is grateful for all of the support shown by the Heights community. “Without you, we don’t know what we would do,” Crina Micu says on the family’s GoFundMe page. “This would be a very different time, and we are thankful for each of you.” They are looking forward to the day that Tarfin can do the job he loves again and to thanking each and every contributor personally!