Steve Jaskowski, manager of the Suburban Tire Auto Care Center in St. Charles, admires the job that music and choral teacher Mike McHugh does for his children and the other students at Grande Reserve Elementary School in Yorkville.
As a way to thank him, Jaskowski and his employees on Wednesday installed new brakes, wheels and tires on McHugh’s 2004 Kia Optima, to McHugh’s surprise.
“This is incredible,” McHugh said, before Jaskowski gave him back the keys to his car. “I inherited this car from my great aunt. This will make me take care of my tires.”
McHugh’s wife, Steph, was in on the surprise, which is how Jaskowski and his employees were able to work on his car Wednesday.
“She told me she needed my car today, and not to ask questions,” McHugh said.
The surprise almost didn’t happen. McHugh was feeling under the weather Wednesday and called in sick.
“But then the school principal called me saying it was an emergency and that I had to be at school at 11:30 a.m.,” McHugh said.
Jaskowski said he would have surprised McHugh at his home if McHugh wasn’t able to make it to school.
Jaskowski’s three children, Dillon, 6, Rachael, 8, and Ryan, 11, attend Grande Reserve Elementary School.
“He is very inspiring,” Jaskowski said. “He inspired me to do something a little over the top.”
Ryan Jaskowski agreed.
“He always does his best and tries to make our musicals the best they can be,” he said.
Ryan recently starred in one of the school’s musicals, “Newsies.” Rachael said that McHugh “encourages us a lot.”
Mike McHugh also plays the piano, something that is not lost on Dillon.
“He makes really good music,” Dillon said.
McHugh’s spirits were lifted after seeing the improvements to his car.
“I feel much better now,” he said. “I’m kind of happy now that I took the day off.”