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Houston auto shop spreads kindness to fellow struggling small business owner

HOUSTON – Business at a Houston automotive shop has slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic but that did not stop them from supporting another small business owner who has been impacted too.

You’re treated like family when you bring your car to HCS Automotive in southwest Houston. Just ask Jasmine Chida who has been bringing her cars to the family-owned shop for years, just like she did last Thursday.

“I was in the middle of the highway and my alternator went out. I had to pull over,” Chida said.

A small business owner herself, Chida was hauling pints of gelato in her van to make deliveries. She runs two SweetCup Gelato stores in Houston. Chida said sales are already down 80% due to the pandemic. Purchasing a new, $600 alternator for her work vehicle would have been a financial stretch.

“I could not afford one at the moment,” she said. “I was barely trying to get a new sale in just to cover costs and make payroll for Friday and it was like get a new alternator or make payroll.

So, family did what family does.

The auto shop fixed her car for only $200, saving her hundreds. Then they went the extra mile. Chida said the owner left her a note in her car with two $100 bills.

“I was pulling out and I slipped out the note from the steering wheel and it was a note saying that we love you and we care a lot,”

Chida said that act of kindness is what she needed on an already rough day. HCS Automotive owner Anthony John said he knew she was going through a tough time and wanted to help.

“I just wanted to treat her like family. I had a couple hundred bucks in my pocket and I just wanted to give it to her to help her out,” John said.

Chida said John wouldn’t take the money back. So she plans to pay it forward by using the $200 to buy more gelato which she’ll give out to nurses and front line workers for free.