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Paying it Forward

Today while I was doing repairs 40 miles from my home base down near DE, I stopped for fuel while on my way home after working on a Big Block Chevy in an 85 GMC 7000. I was just looking around and spotted a woman, on the side of the road near a construction barricade, outside her car looking terrified. There she was on a busy street with construction going on…off to the side of the road with children in the car and a line of traffic blocking her in…just staring at her as they passed by. I watched for about 5 minutes or so while I fueled up and nobody was looking like they would or could help in any way. I mean they could have asked ? I did see her though and she was literally red faced and obviously on the verge of tears. So…I get into the line of traffic and then pull off behind her…which wasn’t so easy with the construction barriers and cones.

I hopped out and asked if she was OK…or if I could help. She looked at me slightly strange and a little apprehensive and said not unless you are a mechanic or a school bus driver. I said I resemble one of those remarks! Turns out she had her children as well as a girlfriends kids with her and needed to get the other children back to their home ASAP and it was a 25 mile ride one way. She left her phone in her house because she thought she would be “right back” and was in a rush… The kiddos were expected at a certain time of course…

Long story short… She needed help and wouldn’t you know it…she drove a 97’ Honda Accord ! Now of course my “Accord Kit” was at my garage as this was completely an unplanned event and my vehicle was loaded with crap from the jobs I was doing, so no help from the parts I know I already own. But at least I know the vehicle well. I quickly diagnosed a bad PGM/Fi relay as the culprit…or so it seemed anyway. There was a Honda dealer about 8 miles away so I said “I will get the part you need, wait in the car and I will be right back the dealer is 8 miles away”.

I bought a new relay from Honda and headed back…(How many times have we recommended this part to people on here? lol). I had trouble unplugging her original and cut my hand nicely on some stamped sheet steel under the dash and bled like it was my job. But finally I got her relay unplugged…and swapped it out. It started on the first try…and she began to cry. She had $14 dollars on her person and needed money for the kids and tolls. I told her it was her lucky day because the part was only $18 dollars or so (I lied) and that it was no big deal not to worry about it at all. When the car started the children all yelled and clapped…motorists beeped (finally trying to help maybe, I dunno) and she cried some more. She thanked me profusely and stated how imperative it was that she get those kids back where they were missed, she was almost frantic. I told her to breathe, relax and drive safely and not to rush…she would be A-OK. She made a call on my phone after all the excitement to the friends mother stating what happened and she was on the road on the way.

As she drove off I could see the kids waving and bouncing up and down through the rear window. Things were A-OK weren’t they? So I headed home…A “few” dollars or so in the hole but feeling ALL Right. I smiled for a few miles on the way home.

She texted my phone about an hour ago… Her message read. “” David I cannot express how grateful I am for your help today. I literally broke down in tears while telling my husband what had happened, how no one had stopped to help, until you took the time. Not many people if any would have done what you did nor would they buy a part and drive to retrieve it…and without the Money! May God Bless you David, you will forever be a shining example of kindness and a story to tell my children at night. I honestly believe that you are a living Angel “”

Awww Shucks Ma’am…

Life isn’t about money…at all…and this is truth.


I used to stop for anyone needing help, and may times got people up and running, congrats for what you did, but now a days it seems I look at troubled motorists, one today, blowout on one tire, he was on the cell, so no need to stop. Yes there are stuck people and humanity thanks you, Always did the don’t worry, pass along a favor. I have been repaid I think.

That’s an awesome post. Definitely enjoyed reading it.


Excellent post and it also represents a side of mechanics that is seldom ever mentioned. Hats off to you in a big, big way. :slight_smile:

Good for you. More karma. I noticed in the paper today that a couple agents in town are giving away wrist bands to people who do good deeds. You should get a box of them.

Way back when I was young and selling insurance, I stopped for a girl who was in the middle of the street on a dark night and had run out of gas. I went and got gas and got her on her way. I made a call on her mother later on to discuss insurance and I made the biggest sale I ever had and was a county record. I felt kinda guilty about it but it was a good policy. Yeah, these were times before cell phones had been invented. There was a time you know.

You went above and beyond, and the world is a slightly better place today because of it, especially for a woman and her family, because of it. You deserve and award.


Thanks for taking time & your own $$$ to help a fellow driver. Good for you. I expect the favor will be returned some day.

Good posting @“Honda Blackbird” We’re proud of you for taking the time and the $$.


You know, I hate to be a wet rag, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re going to get thanked for your efforts or kicked in the teeth for them.

About a month ago a visibly pregnant woman walks in, says her car stalled in the street 2 blocks up. What would it cost to jump start it? I tell her $25. She hems and haws about the price but finally agrees. She’s quite pregnant, so I just take her keys and send a guy and a jump box walking 2 blocks to start the car and bring it here. He returns with the car, it stalled because the positive cable is so corroded it falls off the battery, and the battery is leaking and 8 years old.

I tell her she needs a battery and new cable ends. It’s a cold rainy morning, she’s pregnant, I price it out at $99.95 for an AC Delco 5 year battery, $6.00 for 2 cable ends, and only charge her $25 for the service call, installing the battery and cable ends. I felt like my guys and I did our good deed for the day. $130 plus tax for all that is a fair deal.

Today I get the notice from the card processor, amount is charged back to me, customer dispute, claims they never authorized repairs.

Great story, the satisfaction you get from this and the text is worth way more than the part.

I have always tried to offer help when I see someone is broken down. This not always welcome. Once in our neighborhood, a minivan had its hood up, husband & wife just looking confused. This was at night, so I stopped my own car and without even getting out asked if they needed any help; The husband immediately told the wife to “get in the car” and told me to move on.

Last week, when returning from the Gym I say this lady with young kids in her SUV with the hood up. Now I have realized that being 6’ tall, I should be a bit careful, so from a distance I offered to help and noted that I do have jumper cables. But she said she had her own charger/tender and hocked it up and it worked. But she still thanked me for the offer which was nice.

Sorry to hear that happened to you asemaster but you’re right; those kind of things do happen and unfortunately with regularity.

That repair cost you money even if she had not done the chargeback. Hell, Wal Mart would have charged more than that probably.

That woman is also likely the type of person who does this quite often; be it CC chargebacks, hot checks, bogus returns at the customer service counter of department stores, and so on.
She should have been singing your praises all over town for not only getting her rolling again but doing it for a dirt cheap price. Pathetically sad…

I suspect the husband or boyfriend got in on the act. “I coulda got a battery at Walmart for $59.95 and it was fine. Besides my cousin’s got one I could have.” Poor future kid.

Way to go @“Honda Blackbird” , good Karma here. Can only hope that person will do something nice for someone else and keep this going.

Major kudos to @Honda Blackbird for his good deed!

I know good story right? I thought you helpful people would enjoy hearing about it. All of you should give yourselves a pat on the back for helping out the way ya’ll do on this site and on the road.

This was just a more memorable “Help Event” and thought it deserved sharing. I was exhausted by the time I posted that and went right to bed. Slept the sleep of the Righteous.

Thank you for the kind words…but you all deserve them as well.


@Honda Blackbird
Nice Save!

I’ll bet that woman remembers this forever.

Years ago, I was driving my 71 VW Super Beetle one time when it was still fairly new. It was probably near 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and quite cold outside with snowflakes blowing around. I was traveling on an expressway in a very rural area and being young and foolish and bold, figured I had enough gas to reach a known gas station at an exit that I had to take.

I ran out of gas on the exit ramp. I got out, found an empty windshield washer bottle in the trunk and started to hoof-it to the gas station about a mile away. Did I mention it was cold?

A guy out of nowhere pulled up in an old Cadillac DeVille and asked if he could help. I explained what was going on and he offered to give me a ride to the station. When we arrived, It was closed! He was fairly local there and said he’d give me a ride to the only other station within many, many miles and said if they weren’t open then probably nobody would be because of the holiday.

That station was open and I filled my jug (You actually could put gas in something other that a red DOT, OSHA approved container, back then.) He insisted on giving me a ride back to my car. That Caddy had a great heater!

He said I owed him nothing, but as I got out thanking him up one side and down the other, I threw several dollars into the front seat and shut the door. I would have been SOL without help.

Why am I boring everybody with the details of a not so important event?
I’m just illustrating how one remembers the kindness of strangers doing good deeds for others, sometimes forever!

Great story, Blackbird. It is a little sad that stories like this are rare these days.

Thank you, Honda Blackbird, for demonstrating awareness and compassion for these people… and for your mechanical insight and skill!

Reminds me of my own “kindness of strangers” story, ca. 1984.

A friend and I were driving his big old Volvo wagon back to WI after backpacking in Yellowstone. His gas gauge didn’t work. As we headed farther east in MT we passed an open gas station around 8:45 PM. This looked more and more like a serious oversight when night fell and the landscape became less and less populated. Our estimated fuel supply had already dropped below zero when around 1:15 AM we stopped at a bar in Alzada, MT. It was closed, but we saw a few young men, cowboys, in there watching an X-rated video. We knocked on the door and they unlocked it. Explaining our plight, and hearing one of the young men knew a girl from Madison, WI, the guys explained there was a 24 hour gas station about 20 miles ahead. This we had a hard time believing, because our atlas showed no town there, not even a crossroads or junction. We had no confidence we had enough gas anyway.

One fellow, Ed, offered to help us siphon gas out of his Ford Pinto, but we were unable to improvise a way to do it. He said he’d follow us in his car, and we headed off into the night toward the phantom gas station. Indeed, we made it. There was a huge new gas station and a nearby operation mining bentonite. We filled up and Ed checked his oil. We offered Ed a fill or some money. He declined. Eventually he did let us buy him 2 quarts of oil. As we left, Ed told us,
“My daddy told me: Stranger come to town and need help, you help 'im.”

Thanks once again, Ed. All Eds.

Way back when points and coil ignition were not yet replaced with electronic ignitions I could handle a lot more than now; admittedly have not kept up but the maintenance-free and reliable nature of electronic ignition has permitted me to survive with our own cars.

Incident 1: A young lady was stopped beside one of the busier roads in our area; had a frightened look on her face. She was from another state and had an English sports car. It turned out that her engine had stopped. I found that a wire connection inside the distributor to her coil had become disconnected. Her boyfriend had done a tuneup and when replacing the points, did not tighten the wire connection enough. I put it back together and off she went! All the job required was a pliers. I turned down several dollars offered; was pleased that I could help and that was my good deed for the day.

Incident 2: A young lady had her Toyota Corolla stopped by the road on my way to work in the morning. I also had a 1971 Toyota Corolla at the time that frequently needed work of any random nature so I thought that I could help. Her ignition points barely opened when she ran the starter while I watched. I had my tools so I could reset the points by eyeball and the engine started instantly. I don’t recall that she thanked me; seemed like she was a bit nervous and she quickly went on her way; late for work maybe?

Incident 3: This happened inside a gas station where I and my friends used to hang out as one of our buddys worked there. They had a dead car on the hoist that would not start and did not know why. In desperation they asked me to take a look and the first and easiest thing to suspect is points and coil ignition for a car that stops dead. I saw that the points were not opening and then a rare failure became apparent. The fiber follower block on the points set had broken. New points got the car going.

Incident 4: A lady’s car stopped on a freeway off ramp. We opened the hood to find that there were no battery holdowns and the loose battery somehow managed to get one of the terminals disconnected.

Conclusion: If you stop to help someone in distress, you will likely walk away knowing more including things that you should not do such as maintenance neglect. That is thanks enough.