Editor’s note: This is an open letter paying tribute to plumber Michael “Mike” Segovia, who died on the job Sept. 19.
My buddy, my buddy, my pal. He was a hard worker.
He loved his sons and he became my best friend till the end.
Mike loved to go see his sons perform, Jonathan and Alex in band, David in sports.
He always talked about the drives he would take to see the games, half- time shows and concerts.
Mike looked forward to his sons visiting him for the weekend.
Sometimes, he would show it when he got upset, but most of the time he was upbeat.
Mike was a hard worker. He may have complained here and there, but he would get the job done, and he did it to the best of his ability.
Mike always had a smile on his face, even for work.
When I first started helping him a few years ago, I could see the frustration, but I had him laughing in little time.
The first time I went to help him, I did not know what to do.
It was a women’s restroom. Mike went in to fix it, and I went off to get an out of order sign.
When I got back, he was outside fuming.
A girl had gone in to use the toilet.
I didn’t know I was supposed to guard the door. It happened again on another day.
We joked around a lot and eventually Mike started thriving in his work.
Even when the task seemed hard, we would get through it with words of encouragement.
Between the two of us, work orders issued were knocked out quickly.
With each day going by, joking around and laughing, we would get our job done.
My first best friend, Joe, passed away a few years ago.
Mike reminded me of him a lot. Maybe that’s why we bonded so quickly.
Same moods, jokes and responses. It felt like Joe was here. By the time I knew it, Mike had become my best friend, too.
Mike and I worked really well together.
Mark would join us for lunch and play dominos.
Juan, another worker also joined us until he retired.
I remember he would put the wrong domino down and we wouldn’t notice.
I’d get mad because it would mess up my strategy.
One time it was just Mike and I playing dominos. This time I put the wrong domino down; after three turns he scored 70 points.
He told me what I did. I told him, “Oh, yeah! After 70 points now you tell me, just because you can’t score again.”
We started laughing. Mike and I usually cracked jokes.
One of many moments I won’t forget was when we were in an elevator and there was a lady wearing an Air Force shirt.
Mike asked if she was in the Air Force; she said her husband was. Mike replied “Oh, a fly-boy! I was in the Navy.”
From behind I said, “Yeah, he was a Navy seal. Er, er, er,” as in the seal animal. We cracked up. Even the lady was laughing.
Another funny moment was when we were putting a water heater back in place.
It was scary at the moment, but we were glad we could laugh about it.
He was soldering the water lines and I was cleaning the electrical connectors.
The water heater is electric. So, I told him “flammable stuff.” Mike said OK.
He said OK. He kneeled to solder the drain line and poof, fire!
He grabbed the rag I had used and started hitting the flames and the rag catches fire!
Panicking, I started throwing water from the drain until it went out. I said, “Mike, flammable.”
Mike said, “I know.”
After a few minutes, I said, “Mike, flammable” and we started laughing out loud.
He said “comedy capers.”
Mike used to say, “A happy heart is full of laughter.”
Riding around together and helping each other out, he was joyful and glad to complete all the work orders in the tablet.
He was determined to finish the last order. He put his job before his health.
His last words to me were, “I have to shut the water off. I have to shut the water off.”
Mike will be missed by a lot of people, especially his friends and family. I know I miss him a lot, especially at work.
It won’t be the same without him. The old routine, “Mikey, Mike!” and the good mornings.
My buddy, my buddy, my pal.
Rest in peace, Mike. You are greatly missed.
Jose Peña Jr.