A gas station attendant from Astoria was left speechless when a random customer bought him a car.
For Bradley Rowe, it was just another day working at the Safeway Fuel Station, or so he thought.
He started chatting with a customer while filling up the tank, never suspecting that his conversation would result in being gifted a new vehicle.
“He was just asking some questions,” Rowe said in an interview with NBC. “I’m like, ‘I’m trying to get a car loan.’ He said how much, he asked what lot. I said it was a private sale.”
The 23-year-old Rowe didn’t have a lot of money; the loan he wanted was just $2,000 for a 1998 Ford Explorer.
“Just sitting and chatting with him, then his gas was done,” Rowe said. “He said you have a great day, I said you too.”
On any other day, that might’ve been the end of the conversation. However, the man Rowe had spoken to must’ve been moved by his story, because he went to the Warrenton Kia the same day and started looking at trucks.
Bill Ring, who worked at the Kia dealership, helped Rowe find what he was looking for.
“He told me what he was looking for and I was trying to help him get dialed in,” Ring said.
The man seemed torn, looking at different cars, seeming unable to make up his mind. According to Ring, the good Samaritan said, “It’s just not really jumping out at me.”
After a while, Ring started to pick up on the fact that the man was not shopping for himself.
“He made the comment saying that the car is not going to be for me anyway, and that changed the whole thing. It was like, well, what do you mean it’s not going to be for you?” he asked.
After hearing about the fuel attendant, Ring was shocked.
“I was like, wow, OK,” Ring said.
But that wasn’t as surprising as what the man did next.
They went inside the dealership and the man pulled out his checkbook. The amount for which he wrote the check was kept undisclosed, but he told the salesman, “This should be enough for him to find something good. Something reliable.”
When Ring arrived at the gas station to deliver the news, Rowe was blown away.
“You really made a good impression on somebody today,” Ring told him. “Somebody’s really going out of their way for you. Here’s my business card and when you get off work, you got to come pick out a new car.”
The news was so shocking, Rowe didn’t know what to think.
“I didn’t believe him at first,” he said.
However, when he visited the Warrenton Kia dealership with his girlfriend after work, Ring helped him decide what he needed, and they test drove a vehicle together.
Eventually, Rowe purchased a 2016 Kia Sportage, the newest car he’s ever owned.
“I’ve never had a fob to be able to lock or unlock my car,” Rowe said. “The day I picked it up and drove home, the next morning I woke up and immediately went looking for my keys to make sure it was real.”
Ring said he had asked the man why he went out of his way for a stranger:
“He made the comment that everything in his life changed when he found his faith and now he had the opportunity to give back to somebody who’s in need.”
Still in shock, Rowe told NBC, “I mostly just can’t wrap my head around the sheer kindness of that complete stranger. To talk to somebody for five minutes and then go, ‘I’m gonna buy him a car.’ It’s just unreal.”
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org