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Repaying a Favor

September 09, 1985

I was sure all the Good Samaritans had gone the way of the dinosaurs--until just recently.

Driving in the fast lane of the San Diego Freeway toward Los Angeles, my front tire next to the concrete divider blew out. I pulled into the emergency lane and stopped, putting on my hazard lights. To my right by the slow lane, and only about 100 yards ahead, was a call box--but no way to get to it because of the heavy traffic. Why weren't there any on the divider?

I stood by my car searching for about 40 minutes for a CHP or police car to aid in sending a tow truck--not one went by.

Suddenly, a small, new tan station wagon pulled ahead of my car, and its white-haired driver asked me what the problem was. When he found out I had a spare, he insisted I get in the car and relax while he changed the tire. When I tried to give him a $5 bill, he put up his hands to refuse, so I stuffed in in his shirt pocket anyway.

Except for the kindness of this wonderful man, whose name I neglected to get, I could still be stranded on the 405 near the Los Cerritos Channel, or worse, considering the dangers on freeways. He told me that he had recently run out of gas and a young man of about 17 years got him gas and refused to take payment. He said he was just trying to repay that favor.

So, my thanks to my Good Samaritan, whoever he is.

DORIS CAGAN

Los Angeles

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