Lockridge man turns Illinois motorist's misery into pleasure
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
LOCKRIDGE — When John Smith was driving from his home in Edwards, Ill., to a car show in Des Moines over the Fourth of July weekend, he wasn’t expecting his car to break down. He also wasn’t expecting a complete stranger to fix his car for free, but that was exactly what happened.
Luckily for Smith, his car died at the intersection in front of Preferred Auto Sales in Lockridge, owned by Jim and Jeanette Redmann. The couple happened to see the trouble and were there to help.
“By a stroke of luck, I had stopped right in front of a used car/autobody shop which appeared to be one of the few businesses along that stretch of road,” said Smith.
“My wife and I were standing outside the shop, getting ready to close down for the holiday weekend,” said Jim. “I heard a car sputtering and spitting and just not running right. He happened to pull over right at our intersection and he was out there with his hood up, so I asked if there was anything I could do for him. We were getting ready to close, but I knew I could help him.”
Before long, Jim had Smith’s car in the shop and had quickly figured out what was wrong.
“He just needed a new coil, so I found one and put it on for him,” Jim said. “We fired it up and he headed for Des Moines.”
“He refused to take any money from me,” said Smith. “ He just gave me his card with a cell phone number and told me that if I had any trouble getting to Des Moines to give him a call and he would come and make sure I got there fine.”
According to Jim, Smith was headed to the same car show (Good Guys Car Show) that the Redmann couple was planning on going to.
“We were going to go to that same car show,” said Jim. “He told us to look him up and he would buy us lunch. It wouldn’t have been hard to spot him because he had an old classic car, but I didn’t bother. I just wanted him to enjoy his weekend.”
Smith was inspired by the Redmann’s generosity, and vows to try and make a difference for others the way they made a difference for him.
“This gentleman turned a potentially miserable day into a very pleasant one and I’m extremely grateful,” said Smith. “I will ‘pay it forward’ the first chance I get to help someone else.”
Jim notes that he helped Smith simply because he believes helping others is the right thing to do.
“I try to be like that because I have been in that situation many times, and I wished that someone was there to help me,” said Jim. “There are a lot of other places, and they may not take that extra effort. I just don’t believe in ignoring people when they need help and break down on the road, even if they never come back. I also don’t believe in jabbing people with a price just because they are in distress. We just believe in helping people.”