Tom Magliozzi, 77, was a co-host of one of my favorite public radio shows, “Car Talk.” He died this week. He was known for his infectious laugh and his ability to suss out the real issues—sometimes related to relationships or moral quandaries—that brought callers to his show. I think parts of his life story may interest you.

Sometimes a shock can shake you out of your complacency. After going to MIT, Magliozzi became an engineer. One day while driving to his job in an MG that “weighed about 50 pounds,” a tractor trailer cut him off. Later he thought about how pathetic it would have been if he had died after having just lived a “life of quiet desperation.”

That day when he got to work, he went to his boss’ office and quit. “Most people would have bought a bigger car,” his brother Ray and co-host of the radio show told The New York Times.

The brothers’ radio show, “Car Talk,” reached an audience of more than 3 million people. After 10 years on a local station, the show ran live on National Public Radio for 27 years. Since 2012, when the brothers stopped broadcasting live, NPR has continued to air reruns. The brothers, known as “Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers” made it safe to be silly on public radio and opened the door to a whole new genre of radio show.

The show clearly changed the public radio landscape and many of our Saturday mornings. But how did it all start?

It happened by chance. In 1977 the program director for a small community radio show in Boston called six auto mechanics to see if they would come in and answer car questions on a panel. Tom was the only mechanic to show up. He took calls for an hour. The program director was impressed enough to ask him to come back the following week. He brought his younger brother Ray along. And they soon became local celebrities. It grew from there.

Usually when someone passes, we hope the person will rest in peace. But in Tom’s case, I hope he is laughing his butt off as he did on so many of his radio shows.