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     Good Samaritan: A person who gratuitously gives help or sympathy to those in distress. Luke 10:30-37. –

As quick as mosquito bite, the heat thermometer in our car shot up to the top of the gauge.

In the outskirts of Minneapolis in heavy traffic, a place to pull over was as hard to spot as a patrolman near a speed trap.

Luckily a convenience store appeared on the right and I pulled into the parking lot.

I opened the hood, but could see nothing amiss. Neither was there any steam escaping from the radiator, nor any discernible leaks under the engine.

“I’m clueless,” I admitted to my wife, who by now figured we’d be late to an event that we’d planned for months. On a Saturday afternoon, the chances of getting the car repaired were slight, and I headed into the store to see if they sold antifreeze in case I needed some when the engine cooled down enough to check the level.

As I was looking at the coolant inventory, a voice behind me said: “Looks like you’ve got some engine trouble.” I turned and saw a man in his 40s, with a friendly face and hands that worked for a living. Yes, I said, my car overheated and I don’t know why.

“I know a place up the road that could take a look at it for you,” he said, and as I considered the offer I wondered if this was on the level. Was this a Good Samaritan or someone looking to take advantage of a helpless tourist?

I followed him to the garage, stopping twice to let the engine cool.

“I’ve done my part, now here’s the wrench,” he said, pointing to a bearded man in a cap who looked like he could be a biker with the Hell’s Angels.  But he seemed friendly enough and wanted to know the problem.

He removed a cover hiding the water pump and discovered a broken belt. He warned that the pump bearing may be bad, causing the belt to break. But the pump was fine, and a new belt cost $15. While we waited for the belt, he told me about his dog, which had cancer.  He replaced the belt, pressure checked the cooling system, and then said, “Does $30 sound OK?”

I paid him $60, dumbfounded by my good fortune.

His name?  Jeff Woods, of Woody’s H.R.S, Auto Body and Mechanical Repair, West Highway 101.

It’s a name I’m not likely to forget.

And the other Samaritan? I didn’t think to ask.

Sept. 6, 2017