Amy Rees Anderson

The Kindness of Strangers

Late Friday night my husband and I began our drive home from Idaho where we had attended our Aunt’s funeral, back home in Utah. We had intended to get an earlier start home but we had spent the day scanning in all of our Aunt’s photos and papers so the family members could have digital copies of them and it took us far longer to organize and scan everything than we had anticipated so it was after 8:30pm when we finally set out for home.

It was now around 10:45pm and it had begun raining fairly hard outside. We were in the middle of nowhere, literally, and we were 20 miles away from a town with services when our car tire blew out and we were forced off to the side of the freeway.  My husband got out in the pouring rain to see why the tire was flat. He found a nail hole that had caused the problem. He started to change our tire and put on our spare so we could continue on our way. But after being out there for quite a while he got back in the car rain dripping wet and frustrated beyond belief. Apparently the lug nuts on our wheel didn’t fit the spare tire the tire shop had put in the car so there was no way to put on the spare tire!

We decided we better get on the phones and contact roadside assistance to send a tow truck to come get us. We got ahold of them and they said they needed to locate a service still open that could come and get us as we were in the middle of nowhere and that they would call us back. We waited and waited for a call back but none came. We tried them again and were told they were still struggling to find someone and would call us back when they did.

It was now around midnight and my husband decided we needed to try and figure out a way to patch the tire ourselves or we may be stuck there all night. He got back out in the pouring rain to search our trunk for something to plug the hole in the tire so he could try refilling it with our battery operated air pump. He found a screw and went to go see if he could push it in the hole. A few moments later car lights pulled off the road behind our car. A woman and her son-in-law got out of their car in the rain and said they had driven past and saw we were in trouble so they went to the next exit and turned around and came back to check on us and see how they could help. My husband explained the problem and how the only solution was to get a can of ‘fix a flat’ and an actual air compressor to try and repair the tire. The woman said her husband had an air compressor and that she would send him back to come help us and they got back in their car and drove away.

My husband and I sat wondering what would have compelled these people to stop and help us in the pouring rain, in the middle of the night, and we were in awe that they would offer to go to such great lengths to come back and help us.

Another hour went by and it was after 1am in the morning when we saw their truck with an air compressor in the back pull off the road behind us. Sure enough they had brought a can of ‘fix a flat’ and the compressor we needed. They stood in the pouring rain and filled up our tire and then followed right behind us the full 20 miles to the next city to make sure we got there safely.  From there we were able to contact the tow truck and let it know which gas station to come pick us up at to take us and our car home (we ended up not getting home until after 4am Saturday morning….yikes…still recovering!).

While we waited for the tow truck we thanked the man and his son-in-law for coming back to bring us repair supplies and we asked them to thank his wife for stopping in the first place! My husband handed them some cash but the man tried to give most of it back saying he would only take money for his out of pocket supplies. He said he was just happy to be able to help us. WOW!

WOW AGAIN! It was the middle of the night in the pouring rain and these people had gone WAY out of their way to help total strangers stranded on the side of the road. That family will never know the impact they had on me that night. The truth is that I will never again be able to drive past someone on the side of the road again without doing what I can to help them…all because of what this family did to help me and my husband. What they did went beyond just helping us fix a tire, what they did was to set an example of the kindness we should show to strangers that will forever be etched into my mind and heart and I thank them for that from the bottom of my heart.

This week may we all pay attention to those opportunities to show kindness like this family did.

~Amy Rees Anderson

2 Comments

  • mark orton says:

    Sorry for the inconvenience you suffered, but thank for the reminder of the kindness and goodness that dwells in the hearts of many great people. With theat reminder, I will try harder to be one of those people when I see someone in need.

  • Stan Lockhart says:

    Reminds me of several random acts of kindness towards me over the years. There is so much good in the world. We need to be a part of it. Thanks for sharing Amy.

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