I have used this story as a modern day version of
"The Good Turn". It actually happened in 1992 while my family and I were on
Christmas vacation. With the lights going out at the end, it also makes for a pretty good
Several years ago, at
Christmas time, our family went to visit relatives in Alabama. Being Scouts, we included
camping gear in the packing. While there, we did some camping, swimming, and fishing and
even ate Christmas dinner outdoors in shirtsleeves! For the first time, the boys saw
coyotes, rattlesnakes, and even a couple of alligators. We had such a good time that we
almost didn't want to leave for home since we knew it was cold and snowy on Cape Cod.
On our way home, late at night in Virginia, our car started acting up with
an awful howling in the rear end. Since it was late at night and we didn't exactly know
the countryside, we limped along until we saw a sign that simply said "GAS &
At the end of a long road, we found a small garage still open. Inside, I
found a teenage boy and his girlfriend watching TV. I explained my plight and was told to
"bring it right in." Apparently I looked a bit skeptical of this youngster,
because he assured me that he would give it his best.
The girl took everyone's orders for snacks and coffee and disappeared out
the door. The boy put the car on the hoist and began looking it over. Soon the girl came
back with the food. She played with the kids and visited with my wife while I helped with
the car. After a while, the young man said the car was "ready to roll." When I
went to pay the bill, I told them to include all of the snacks with it. To my amazement,
he said, "How about $5.00?" I protested that he couldn't make any money at that
He pointed to the sign in the rear window of my car and said, I'm a Scout
too. It wouldn't be right to charge you. I do need $5.00 for the oil because it's my dad's
garage. He's a Scout Too! He went on to explain that his fiancée was a Girl Scout and had
brought the snacks and drinks from their restaurant on down the road.
I had tried to pay them a fair price, but soon saw it was useless to argue
with these determined young people. I finally did get them to accept $20 - which didn't
come close to what the work would have cost elsewhere. As we were pulling away, the lights
went out at the garage and we couldn't see anyone around.
On the ride home, we talked of how someone else needed help. He was caught
in the fog of London, far from home, and had been helped by a stranger - another Boy
Scout. It makes you wonder.