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

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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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Cecilia
1 month 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 month 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 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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 month ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin

Sad but true, Abe.

Ellen L
1 month ago

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

Ron Twellman
1 month 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 month 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 month 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 month ago

I love this story.

Dan
1 month 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.
1 month 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.
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago
Reply to  friz

Here here.

Michael D. Anderson
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

Leslie Schofield
1 month ago

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

Carol Erlingheuser
1 month ago

25+ years ago we,and our 4 young children, were scouting NC in consideration of moving from CT.
The realtors car broke down in a rundown part of the city. Immediately the car behind us stopped to help, and a man who lived nearby walked over and offered tools if needed. Couldn’t get the car going.
Another car pulled up, a young family inside. We were all strangers. They “just happened” to have a spare battery in the trunk of their car.
The battery was installed and we wrote the man’s name and address down and returned the battery to him later that evening. My young son said he felt like he was in a commercial made to show how good the residents there were. Life, and people, astonish us sometimes.

Roy Christensen
1 month ago

I had a day where I broke down while riding my 1972 Harley ElectaGlide. I will never forget the kindness of several strangers who helped me. I was coming back from SW Wisconsin to Long Island after visiting family there. I was riding alone and left early one morning to head home. I had just gotten to Illinois when a fierce lightning storm occurred. A lightning bolt hit the street in front of me. I decided to stop and found a gas station that had just opened for the day. I was told to wheel my bike into empty bay. Nice. While I waited I decided to get breakfast. “Any place to eat nearby?”, I asked. No, but you can borrow my car and drive to the diner. Wow! I felt funny about this, but I accepted the offer. When I returned my bike was not in the repair bay. They had to move it because someone needed to use it. My bike was parked outside. The gasoline truck driver who was delivering gas covered it with a large piece of cardboard to protect it from the still intense storm. To be continued:

Roy Christensen
1 month ago

I was riding on I80 thru Indiana when it became difficult to steer. I had a flat on the front tire. Several people stopped, but a pickup was able to get me to a gas station. i had a patch kit, but the tire tube was shedded. The tire was difficult to break from the rim, but I got some help there. I needed a new inner tube, but it was Saturday afternoon and stores were closing. A customer saw my problem and offered to get a used tube he had at home. After fixing the tire, the steelworker customer told me to come have supper with him and his family. We had a great evening talking about traveling. I had to leave and not stay overnight because I had a Graduate course starting on Monday and I had to get home. The next day while riding thru NJ, I stopped to help another biker whose chain came off the sprocket. My first day coming home thru Illinois and Indiana was one I’ll never forget.

Robb Niebeling
1 month ago

Cute story. Thanks for sharing.