#2 Press Release in Our Series Entitled Doing the Right Thing
Sponsored by Bobzio.com
We here at Bobzio.com want to highlight community acts that demonstrate the core values of a Healthy Democratic Republic. This is a true event that occurred on a winter evening on the main highway into Houston Missouri in 1987. I was travelling home from a full day of work and came upon a medium size cargo truck off the side of the road stuck in the ditch. The sun had set and the light of the day was fading. I may have been the second or third truck to stop on the side of the highway
I walked up to the driver standing on the side of the truck and he was explaining to another that his wheel had gotten off the edge of the road and he lost control coming to rest in the ditch. The Truck had tipped so 2 of the wheels were off the ground. The driver was not hurt but was slightly shaken. I recognized the truck after I stopped as belonging to the local feed and seed store owner. The owner was also a local rancher not far outside of town. The driver was delivering supplies to the local feed and seed store. When his front wheel left the pavement the jarring shifted the weight in the cargo area causing the driver to lose control and tip into the ditch. The truck appeared relatively unharmed. A driver in another vehicle parked and reported that a tow truck had been alerted. This was before cell phones. The driver had gone to a neighboring farmhouse to place the call.
In about 30 minutes there were close to 15 trucks parked on the side of the road. This was not a heavily travelled road but all that came upon the situation parked and gathered to see if they could help. Soon I recognized an older gentleman directing traffic telling all that slowed down to continue on as there was enough help already. I was relatively new in the area but I recognized the older gentleman. A local car salesman had sold me a car in December and during the conversation asked my plans for Christmas. I confessed that I had none. He made me promise to come by his father’s residence and have Christmas dinner with his extended family. The man directing traffic was this man’s father. I remember him because I had dinner with him and over 30 of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also had a pet 2000 lb brahma bull that he led around by its’ ear while giving 4 of his great grandchildren rides in the back pasture area. I remember the gentleman being just like the Grandfather figure on the Walton’s a popular TV series of the 80’s.
The tow truck arrived within the hour. He could not move the truck because it had tipped. All of those standing by got on the side of the truck and with a coordinated effort lifted the truck out of the ditch back onto 4 wheels. Then word came back that the truck could not towed because it was fully loaded. There were over 30 trucks by now parked on the side of the road. Everyone got into a line and the items from the truck where passed by each person to the cargo area of each pickup truck. The first 10 pickups were loaded with cargo. Now the cargo truck was hooked up behind the tow truck and was on the road toward the seed and feed store followed by a line of 30 pickups.
The train of trucks pulled into the seed and feed store parking area. The same line of people was recreated and all the pickups were off loaded into the store within 10 minutes. In a little over 90 minutes after the accident the contents of the cargo truck were locked inside the seed and feed Store and the parking lot was empty. In this area there were several norms of behavior. One should always stop to help a stranded motorist. Second was if you were turning left and no one was coming from the opposite direction you get over to the left side when you make a left turn so someone following you does not have to slow down for you. A third was you acknowledge a passing driver with one raised finger or several fingers if they happen to be a neighbor. If they are a friend you stop and have a conversation.
Years later a tennis buddy of mine was telling me when he visited his wife’s family in the Ozark area of Arkansas, his father in law was driving and came upon 2 trucks stopped blocking the highway. His father in law parked the truck and walked up to join the conversation of the drivers. He returned several minutes later. My friend's father in law later reported one of the drivers was Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. They were sharing recent hunting experiences.