Iowa local Todd Steinkamp had driven around 300 miles on his way to Green Bay, Wisconsin, when he realized that his car just wasn’t going to make it the final leg of the journey.
It started with a grinding noise, coming from his left front tire. As he continued, Steinkamp’s heart sank; although he only had about 70 miles left to make it to his destination, that was farther than his car had left before he’d have to stop in and get it fixed.
It was only around 7 in the morning when he turned into a parking lot boasting an auto mechanic store. He figured that the likelihood of the shop being open was slim to none, but had no other option – at the very least, he had to try getting the car fixed. He was on his way to Green Bay for a funeral, and he didn’t want to miss it after already coming so far.
At first, it seemed his luck had turned around.
Upon entering the adjacent convenience store, Lauritzen Sports, he approached a man stocking the shelves with oil. Praying for a Hail Mary, he asked the man if someone was around to help him out with his car.
The man adjusted his hat, identifying himself as the mechanic, Glenn Geib. Steinkamp brought him out to the ailing vehicle, and the mechanic was quickly able to identify the problem—something that would be a quick fix, further raising Steinkamp’s hopes.
Unfortunately, Geib had to inform him that the part wasn’t in stock. He’d have to order it, and getting it to the shop could take a few hours at least.
Steinkamp was devastated. He explained to the other man that he was so close to his destination, yet was still going to run late for the funeral as a result of his car malfunctions—and even though Geib let him know about the small town’s rental car office, they arrived to find that the only car there wasn’t available.
That’s when Geib did the unthinkable.
Pulling out his own car keys, he tossed them to the worried Steinkamp.
“Take my truck,” he insisted.
“Fill it up with gas, and don’t turn the emergency lights on.” He made sure that the harried funeral-goer knew he was serious. “Get going,” he insisted.
It took a little coaxing, but Geib managed to get Steinkamp to accept his offer and take off. He made it the final 70 miles of his journey, arriving in time for the funeral (and with a heartwarming—if hardly believable—story for the other attendees) and making it back to the mechanic within a 7-hour frame. By then, his car was fixed, and he was able to make it back home to Iowa with the memory of the mechanic that went above and beyond the call of duty to get him where he needed to go.
When the two exchanged keys, they didn’t even know each other’s names. They knew no histories, had no one to vouch for the other, and shared no experiences beyond what they went through together early that morning.
Geib was kind enough to loan his car to a perfect stranger, though, taking a leap of faith to make sure someone got somewhere important on time. That’s the kind of random act of kindness that one doesn’t forget later on in life.