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Stranded on the side of the road, should you trust a stranger’s help?

By Nanci Dixon
One of our first RV trips in our renovated, newly rebuilt, Class C RV was to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Long story short, the motorhome quit on a long, desolate, two-lane highway literally in the middle of nowhere. No cars, no towns, pre-cell phone… we were stuck.

After a long while, a pickup truck whizzed by before we could hop out to stop it. Thankfully, he turned around to offer his help. My husband explained which part had burned up and, amazingly, the man had just picked up that part at the junkyard. Too good to be true? I wondered…

He offered to tow us all the way back to his house and help install the part. As we were towed deeper and deeper into the thick backwoods of Michigan, I began to get nervous. We were absolutely nowhere to start with, and now we were deeper into nowhere with no idea where. And with an absolute stranger who claimed he “just happened” to have the part we needed. And to top it off, we had our two young children with us and none of our family knew where we were headed.

What were we thinking? He could be a serial killer, an axe murderer! Who “just happens” to pick up a part they didn’t need? Actually, what was my husband thinking accepting his offer? A whole lot of “what ifs” ran through my mind, none of them good.

After interminable miles, we arrived in a clearing with a little house on a hill and a huge, industrial garage. Soon a pack of kids surrounded us. As their kids and ours began playing together I started to relax. I could hear my husband laughing and talking as they installed the part. The mom and I sat on wicker porch rockers, drank coffee and chatted. 

spider plant
Photo Credit Jessica Hardy

As we were leaving she gave me a little plant in a Styrofoam cup. It’s already 27 years later, and the plant has made many babies. One of them is at my now-grown son’s house. It is such a wonderful reminder that there really is kindness and goodness in strangers, particularly from this stranger on a lonely road that “just happened” to bless us with just what we needed.

##RVT984

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Dana D
3 months ago

Times have changed. People are nuts! Anger everywhere, road rage included. I travel well armed, which means I avoid States that don’t support the 2nd Amendment. I’m 73 years old. I also carry a Garmin inReach Explorer in case I don’t have cell phone service. A couple months ago I was confronted at a gas station by a young and very muscular man that seemed to be on drugs. He was angry that I was speaking with a female a couple gas islands away from me. The female happened to be my wife. The man could have easily beat or killed me, especially in his enraged state. I reached for my pistol in case I needed to defend myself. Oops, it wasn’t on me. I was in California.

Wren Grace
3 months ago

Nanci, your lovely story obviously hit a good nerve and elicited many more heartwarming stories of road side assistance. We too have numerous stories of “saves” since we started full time rv-ing 4 years ago. Ever since our first year of rv-ing we have carried 10+ pints of VT maple syrup (we’re originally from there) with us and every year we have given them all away (and wished for more) for kindnesses shown us on the road. This year we’re bring 20 and hope that will be enough!

Margaret Dinkel
3 months ago

Years ago we were headed to the Smokies towing an already then old 17 ft TT with an under powered truck. Stopped at a rest area, walked our fur babies, and gave the truck a rest. However, it was too hot to put fur babies back in truck and both of us had to really go…. There was a group of burly Harley motorcyclists. A couple of them said, “We’ll hold on to them while you’re in the bathroom.” And they did. Our Bassett loved it and was ready to go with them. lol. Really awesome guys. Will not forget that.

Cecilia
11 months ago

Great story! I have trust issues so I would have felt the same way about being towed all the way into the woods by a stranger. I have read every one of these comments and they are so heartwarming! Thank you to all who commented because it made my day!

Matt C
11 months ago

We have lived in a rural area for about 30years. Time was if I saw someone stopped on the road side or near an intersection, I would ask if assistance would be a help. Now there are cell phones. In truth, I kind of miss these opportunities.

Let me assure you that the upper peninsula is still that unpopulated in many places. They know that they have to help each other. Cell coverage is not that good there.

We travel in a classic 48yo MH that has kind of a cult following. We have an assist list. The community has arranged some amazing rescues. I myself have been on both sides of these operations. Being on the rescuer side really does make a guy feel good.

Tommy Molnar
11 months ago

Just don’t “binge-watch” too many episodes of “Criminal Minds” and you should be fine. Even though it’s ‘just TV’, someone had to think these stories up – and THAT’S what’s scary!

Kevin Harwood
11 months ago

Since joining the RV community, we have seen, and heard about, so many similar acts of kindness. RV’ers should look out for one another. If you see someone in need, do the kind thing and offer help. Even if they refuse, make the gesture. You’ll be glad you did.

Abe Loughin
11 months ago

27 years ago I wouldn’t hesitate to stop and help someone in the situation you were in. These days you can’t tell if it is really someone who needs help or road bandits looking for their next victim.

Tommy Molnar
11 months ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin

Sad but true, Abe.

Ellen L
11 months ago

Wonderful story of the kindness of strangers. It warms my heart.

Ron Twellman
11 months ago

On our Alaska trip we took the Cassier Hwy. on our return. The first 30 miles on the north end were extremely narrow & curvy but the rest just beautiful. However, the next day, a Monday, we broke down south of Quesnel, a much better place for it than the Cassier. A couple from Penn. let us use their phone to call our insurer who got a tow on the way. The driver told us he thought the place they wanted him to drop us only did work on the MH itself & ours was an engine issue. Sure enough they weren’t able to help. The driver just said let me call someone. Soon we were just few miles away being dropped behind a truck repair shop. Since the shop had contracts with timber companies we weren’t their top priority, but the HVAC business next door loaned us an extension cord and let us use their restroom & air-conditioned break room.

Ron Twellman
11 months ago
Reply to  Ron Twellman

Also, another couple were waiting for their pickup camper to be fixed so we had company day & night. Friday afternoon it was our turn & ninety minutes later the MH was running. We stayed one more night so they could change the oil for us and wildfires re-routed us through Alberta but all that help from all those people made those extra four days the highlight of our trip!

CRAIG SEITZ
11 months ago

Seven years ago, my family and I were driving the infamous Dragons Tail headed to Fontana Lake. We began to have front wheel issues. We barely made it to the campground with our popup. I’m no mechanic but knew we couldn’t make it back down the mountain. A group of retired police and fireman from Gastonia NC repaired our vehicle after working on it all day and driving me 45 minutes to town to get the part. Spent the weekend boating, fishing and camping with them. They were my family’s guardian angels. Still keep in contact with them.

K. Gebbie
11 months ago

I love this story.

Dan
11 months ago

While our MH was at factory for repairs in Northern Indiana, we were day tripping in our toad. We had a flat tire. After unloading it to get to the spare it almost looked like a yard sale. I had the flat tire almost off, when a big Harley motorcycle rolled up with a man about 45 years old with his wife. He offered his help and said … “here let a young guy do it”. He put the spare on and helped reload the toad. That was ten years ago when I was in my early sixties. To this day, anytime I’m working on a big project my wife says… “you should let a young guy do that”. That’s a RV memory I shall keep till I’m gone.

Sharon W.
11 months ago

my daughter. I said a silent prayer for God to protect us and got in. As soon as we passed the other car with the 2 men they pulled back onto the highway and went on their way. The couple did exactly what they promised. The first service station we came to they stopped. They waited until after I called my husband to make sure I would be ok. It was so hard to trust these people, but I did and they turned out to be angels! After all these years, I would like to thank them again if perhaps they are rvers now and read this! They probably saved our lives!

Sharon W.
11 months ago

My daughter, (age 9 at the time) and I had been shopping for school clothes and the car broke down on a highway that did not have much traffic. No cell phones at that time, so we got out and started walking. A car with 2 men pulled off the road about 1/4 mile ahead of us. I was very scared and thought they were just waiting for us. Suddenly another car with a man and woman pulled off right in front of us and asked if we needed help. I told him no thanks, that we would just walk until we found a phone. He and his wife said that they had already passed us once. Then he said he saw the 2 men pull off in his rear mirror and turned around because he said he knew what was about to happen. I told him I didn’t want to get in the car. He and his wife begged me to get in. They said they were married, and showed me pictures of their children and promised that the very first service station they came to they would stop and let me out. I was never so scared in my life, mainly because of

friz
11 months ago

Please don’t bring your suburban/urban attitudes/suspicions about people to the north woods.  There are no car loads of black or white thugs looking for victims to prey on.

Jeb
11 months ago
Reply to  friz

Here here.

Michael D. Anderson
11 months ago
Reply to  friz

Friz, when I see someone post who doesn’t use their full legal name, I always wonder why they wish to remain anonymous, and I don’t trust them. You have much more credibility using your name (and yes, I know one can simply make up a name, but still.)

David Wilson
11 months ago

We have had more than one similar experience, with “angels” showing up to provide assistance in our distress on the road. The generosity and kindness of strangers is a blessing.

Darla K Baker
11 months ago

I tend to lead with trust. My wife leads with mistrust. Despite the news these days, especially in Michigan, I still think there are more people out there who want to help a traveler than hurt them.

Gregory Brott
11 months ago

Heartwarming and touching story….reminds us of the goodness of people.

Leslie Schofield
11 months ago

Love the story and love the plant history. Everyday it reminds you of the goodness of people.