Ciao, Mr Fiorini

Jennifer Neish, Tamboerskloof

We are immeasurably saddened by the devastating news that our greatly respected family motor mechanic of many decades, Mr Fiorini of Fiorini Motors in Kloof Street, Gardens, passed away suddenly on July 1.

Our hearts go out to his family and staff, most of whom had been with him for many years.

Mr Fiorini was a man of few words, but the few he spoke were always the ones I wanted to hear when I phoned him in a panic, to say that my car wouldn’t start, the battery was flat, there was smoke coming out of the bonnet, it was making a weird noise.

Unflappable, he’d reply “Okay, bring it in, we’ll take a look.”

He never said “No” to a damsel in distress when her car played up – I thought of him as a knight in shining armour and was always so grateful for his unfailingly obliging response.

During the past month, he uncomplainingly collected my unco-operative car from my home no fewer than three times during one nerve-racking week. He never made me feel as though I was a nuisance, though I worried that when he heard my voice yet again in such a short period of time, he may growl in exasperation, but he never did, all he said was “What? This is crazy! Okay, bring the keys down, we’ll have another look.”

His actions spoke louder than words. Short of stature, he was nevertheless a man of huge, reassuring presence, totally honourable and dependable. My late father, my sister Ali and I trusted Mr Fiorini implicitly. We knew that (certainly in the case of Ali and I), he would never exploit or take advantage of our ignorance of the workings of a vehicle’s engine. He’d just smile politely as we expounded on what we thought the problem was, could be or may be – after which we’d leave, knowing with relief that we could depend on Mr F to do the necessary, to make everything right again. He never disappointed. Nor did he ever forget to leave our keys at Topolino with his long time friend Peter Tournas for us to collect after work. He was capable, efficient and totally reliable.

Mr Fiorini was a cornerstone of our lives.

We knew we could always count on him. He would often not charge us for something small, brushing away our insistence on payment, saying “Next time, we’ll add it on, next time” which I don’t think he ever did.

Not so long ago, my sister plucked up the courage to ask something we had always wanted to know “Mr Fiorini, would you mind telling me what your first name is?”

He considered her request. If he considered it none of her business, he was too much of a gentleman to say so. Thrusting his shoulders back, he replied somewhat haughtily “Giuliano!”

Nevertheless, he remained “Mr Fiorini” as we had too much respect to call him by his first name.

We will miss our kind chivalrous friend and saviour more than words can express. Our hearts go out to his family of whom he always spoke so fondly – and his staff, who must feel equally bereft. His are shoes that are impossible to fill. Ciao, Mr Fiorini – as a family, we were blessed and privileged to have you in our lives. Thank you for all the many times you came to our rescue, always making light of it with your eyes twinkling behind your spectacles and a sweet smile. A kind, courteous, efficient gentleman, who made the world a better place. We will miss you so much.