Frisco biz owner helps stranded motorists |

Frisco biz owner helps stranded motorists

Tom Hronek, owner of Sign Safari in Frisco, saw an opportunity to help a couple in dire straits and embraced his inner good Samaritan.

Just before closing time at 5:00 p.m. on July 15, he was approached, by Gunter and Nicolette Bischof, with a tale of automotive woe.

“They were in a bind,” Hronek said.

The Bischof’s were on their way to vend German-themed food at the 44th annual BMW Motorcycle Top of the Rockies Rally in Paonia when they had a mechanical mishap.

“We heard a bang and thought it was a flat tire,” Gunter Bischof. “We pulled to the side of the road, saw smoke and thought the car was catching on fire.”

Luckily, in this instance, smoke didn’t indicate fire, but the Bischof’s situation still proved to be harrowing.

“There was oil and water everywhere,” Gunter Bischof said. “A piston rod shot right through the engine block.”

They had their Toyota Sienna van, with 217,000 miles on the odometer, towed to a nearby mechanic who shared an unwanted diagnosis. Much to their chagrin, the engine would need to be replaced.

Being time- and finance-challenged, replacing the motor was not an option for the Bischof’s. Even worse, they didn’t have a credit card to rent a substitute vehicle.

At this point, Gunter Bischof wandered a few doors down from the mechanic and noticed a Chevy Astrovan Hronek had for sale. The asking price was $3,900.

When Hronek heard Bischof’s tale, he agreed to make a special deal. For a $200 deposit, he agreed to lend the van to the couple.

To meet insurance regulations, Gunter Bischof said they had to draw up an actual sales contract.

“If he brings it back in good condition, we would rip up the contract,” Hronek explained.

After a challenging start, the Bischof’s made it to Paonia and had a successful weekend.

“We sold 100 pounds of potato salad,” Nicolette Bischof said. “We sold all brats on first day and sold out of everything by Sunday.”

The couple praise Hronek for his kindness and willingness to assist.

“Without him, I don’t know what we would’ve done,” Nicolette Bischof said. “We were totally, totally stranded.”

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