The good Samaritan motorists

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I usually do a column at the beginning of each year thanking our columnists and contributors who have helped make the Citizen’s religion pages informative and helpful. I will do that next week because I have another mission this week — thanking two considerate people who helped a frightened and upset senior citizen (me) out of what could have been a dangerous situation last month.

We single ladies expect our “things” to work when we turn them on, especially, our automobiles. When they don’t, we tend to go into panic mode, especially if we are out somewhere and need to get home. It doesn’t matter that my old trusty van is 12 years old (it’s a 1996 Chevy Astro). It has relatively low mileage and I take it to the car doctor regularly (Crossroads Automotive). They make sure it is in good running condition before I get it back. With a few exceptions since 1997, it has been very reliable.

Of course, things do break down — big things, in the case of older cars — and I have replaced many of the bigger-ticket items, including the transmission, but you expect that in return for not having a car payment for many years.

It was the end of the day on a Monday and I was going by my mother’s to pick up a baby quilt to give to one of my co-workers, Heather Ward, for her shower on Wednesday. I turned the key in the van and started it. It lasted about 15 seconds and would not start again, despite all my tricks.

I went next door and implored one of the mechanics to see if he could get me started. All I wanted to do was get home. I would worry about repairs when I got there.

The mechanic banged on something underneath the car and, miraculously, it started. I tried to pay him but he wouldn’t take anything. He said it was the fuel pump and he couldn’t promise how long the car would run. But I had to try and I headed out of the parking lot, down Highway 85 and, down 54 toward Newnan. I made it to Grady Avenue and the poor van died.

It was 5 p.m. and I was in the middle lane. Cars were everywhere and I was so scared I was trembling. It was also starting to get dark and I can’t see to drive at night. I began to wonder how I was going to get home.

And then came the Good Samaritans — a couple. I don’t even know their names but they probably kept me from getting killed. They were in the car behind me and stopped and stayed there to keep me from being hit. I got out of my car but the woman came and shushed me back against my van as a car swooshed by. She loaned me her cell phone since mine was on its last breath after I had called my mother and told her I would not be stopping by.

I called 911 and a Fayetteville police officer came within minutes, pushed me off of 54 and onto Sharon Drive. The couple waited until I was safely out of traffic and then they must have driven off. When I got out of my car and looked back, they were gone. I don’t even know their names but I hope somehow this will find them and they will know how grateful I am.

Between them and the reassuring words of the police officer, I calmed down and started to relax. When Joyce and Ben showed up from nowhere to wait for the wrecker with me, I really settled down and was able to joke about the situation. I found out that Ellie, one of our sales reps, had driven by, saw my plight, and called the office.

The wrecker came and took me and the (not so trusty) van home. Crossroads picked it up the next day and put in a new fuel pump and I got to drive a new Chevy Cobalt for the next three days. (I heart Enterprise.)

I was really struck by the kindness and concern of these two Good Samaritan motorists for my safety and well-being. Also by the willingness of the mechanic to get me started without any compensation and enough concern by the policeman to remain with me until he was satisfied I was going to be okay. Of course, I profusely thank Ellie for relaying the distress call. When Joyce and Ben showed up it was the icing on the cake.

I am probably one of the worst complainers about what a sorry state the world is in today in regards to neighbors helping neighbors, but these people have revived my faith a bit. A big thank you from a lady who will always remember your kindness. I would love to know your names.

Judy Kilgore is religion editor for The Citizen. She may be reached at or

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Submitted by petty on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 12:20am.

good to hear that you are safe. it wasn't really safe to drive with car failures. Thank God your fuel pumps has been replaced. =)

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