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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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Spike
3 months ago

Great little story. Brought a smile to my face. Thanks. 🙂

Linda Graham Gruvman
3 months ago

In 1984 our Class A got high-centered at a roadside picnic area in the wilds of the Northern Michigan peninsula. As Nanci said, there was no one around for miles. Within minutes a tow truck happened by and he assisted us back onto the highway. He didn’t want to bother with filling out AAA forms, just asked for $15. Perhaps he was the same angel who helped Nanci.

Lindalee
3 months ago

Dear Nanci,

I believe you met one of the Angels that God sends to look after us! This one just happened to be human with a wife and kids!

I’ve met many an Angel in my life but often didn’t recognize just who they were!

God Bless you in your travels (as He obviously does)!

Steve
3 months ago

While traveling the Top of the World “highway” between Chicken AK and Dawson City YK, we had a flat on our tow vehicle. We had crossed a construction zone just before the border with sharp, angled chunks of rock for a roadbed. I stopped and began changing the tire when I heard escaping air from the other rear tire. Not one, but 2 flats and only one spare. Fortunately I had a 12v compressor and 3 tire plugs. But before I could get the first flat off, a low-boy driver passed us going the opposite direction. He turned around, pulled out 25′ of air hose, put 2 plugs in one tire and 5 in the other, aired both up, and had us ready to go in 20 minutes. We offered him money and lunch, but he wouldn’t take either. Made our day and trip!

LMH
3 months ago

I have been helped on the side of the Interstate recently and was very grateful for it. Seems the “new” battery in a recently bought “pre-owned” truck was a new “used” battery that did just fine puttering around town but being pushed thru a few thousand miles in high temps made it give up the ghost. We got jumped off and made it to a parking lot where, being the “freeloader” that I am, we spent the night (had other problems as well at the same time). We didn’t really think it was the battery, until we got home and pulled the battery out of the truck where we noticed the hidden label on the side was a different date than the visible newer one on the top. that said, I have run into many strangers on RV forums that would not have helped me but would have rejoiced in my problems. And more than a few that would have scared me.

Matt Colie
3 months ago

This is the way the “real world” is meant to be. As a waterman, it is the way most of my world is still today. Were I in that same position, I would be cautious. There are still lots of good people out there and very few live in cities.

BILLY Bob Thronton
6 months ago

Look, do this next time your in your home territory and see a fellow RVer in distress. Stop, talk RV talk, let them know you’re one of them. Guide the guy to getting him help.

If you see a bumper sticker, or any indication that he truely is clueless ( there are tons of indicators), be xtra careful with him (wink, wink, you know who im referring too). Those types think most are serial killers, and probably wouldn’t accept your help anyway.

Dana D
10 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.

Bob p
3 months ago
Reply to  Dana D

Now you know why I won’t go to CA

SUSAN M
3 months ago
Reply to  Dana D

I will take the risk of pointing out that you are still here to tell. To me this means that you relied on your wits instead of a gun, which seems like your best tool.

John
3 months ago
Reply to  SUSAN M

Not aways!

Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Dana D

I agree 100%. This story probably took place back in the 90’s. Back then, I lived and FL and traveled 100 miles one-way every week to check on my dad. I don’t remember all the details but a stranded motorist trusted a stranger on I-75 and ended up dead. My dad gave me his 38. I never leave home without it. Trust no 1.

Wren Grace
10 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!

Rick
3 months ago
Reply to  Wren Grace

I’m a beekeeper. I do the same with my honey.
(My insect commodity, not my wife!)

Margaret Dinkel
10 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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!

LMH
3 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

That is unless you lived in the same area at the same time where this guy was killing. I did! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_John_Schaefer

Kevin Harwood
1 year 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.

Rick
3 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Harwood

No. Everyone should look out for one another. It makes for a better world. I’ve been on both ends.

Abe Loughin
1 year 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
1 year ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin

Sad but true, Abe.

Jewel
3 months ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin

That’s a true fact. You could be the one offering and be just as vulnerable. You never know. It’s great to help and to receive help when needed but never let down your guard and do ALWAYS let someone know where you are as much as you can.
And if you do carry a weapon, please make sure you know how to use it.

Stay safe out there!

Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin

Agree 100%

Ellen L
1 year ago

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

Ron Twellman
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

I love this story.

Dan
1 year 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.

Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Just goes to show you that “bikers”, or people in general are not all bad. I ride a motorcycle and own a toy hauler. I have stopped many times to help both bikers and cage (car) drivers. If they refuse the help, I just keep going.
Some of the ‘breakdowns’ may be just the opposite scenario. Do they really need help, or are they looking to take advantage of you?

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