Thursday, November 29, 2012
Kind folks in Lucedale
This vacation week story starts with the last day.
That’s because two people, who helped my family, deserve to be at the top.
Saturday, on the way back from Orange Beach, Ala., my daughter Emma’s Chevrolet Blazer broke down one hour from Hattiesburg. It quickly quit and she and Pam managed to coast into the driveway of Stringfellow Implement Company at Lucedale.
Erin and I were at Emma’s house near the University of Southern Mississippi. We had left the beach a day early to attend the Marshall Academy-Brookhaven Academy state championship football game.
We were anxiously awaiting them as their goal was to get to Hattiesburg in time to watch the Alabama versus Auburn game.
But as I was talking to Pam about an hour before game-time, she suddenly had to get off the cell phone. Come to find out, that’s when they were nervously hoping to coast off Highway 98 after the car died.
She called back and told me what had happened. But she wasn’t in a panic, thanks to a very kind lady, Phyllis Stringfellow, who had come to help.
She said her husband was in the field but she would go and ask his advice.
Meanwhile, Emma called one of her college friends who lives in Lucedale and got the name and number of a local mechanic, Billy Havard.
She called the stranger and asked for help.
“I will be there in 10 minutes,” Billy Havard replied.
Remember, this was a holiday weekend, a Saturday, just after Thanksgiving.
He was there soon, diagnosed the problem – a shattered pulley and broken belt.
He gave Pam an estimate of the cost, said he could go get the parts in town, be back in a bit and fix it right there on the spot.
Meanwhile, Phyllis Stringfellow returned and let Emma and Pam into the family business so they could use the restroom and even offered to go and get them something to eat.
Billy Havard returned shortly, just like he said, and went to work. He had the new parts in place in less than 30 minutes, and the Blazer cranked right up.
But he didn’t say bye just yet.
He followed Emma and Pam through town, just to make sure the car was running smoothly and they were going to make it OK.
Erin and I had waited with concern, ready to go and pick up Emma and Pam, if needed.
But instead they made it to Hattiesburg safely, with the help of some good, down-home Mississippi folks, and in time to watch half of the second quarter of the ball game. It was over by then. Alabama cruised 49-0.
Emma put this up on her Facebook page.
“Thankful to live in a state where a complete stranger will take an hour out of his day to repair my car. Also thankful to friends who answer the phone when I call and give me the number of someone to help.”
Our annual Thanksgiving week stay at the beach was great. I will perhaps write more about that later.
But really the Blazer breaking down turned into the best part of the trip. That’s when Emma and Pam met two good Samaritans, Phyllis Stringfellow and Billy Havard.
The car could have died in the Mobile, Ala., tunnel. Instead it picked Lucedale.
My family was fortunate and blessed.
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