If you’re a parent of a college freshman, who is attending school many hours away from his or her hometown, you can probably relate to this story.
Last week, I got a call from Matthew Morrison, a single father who lives in Lincoln, Neb. He explained that his son, Collin, a freshman at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, where he plays football for the Raiders, was on his way back to Brainerd after enjoying his birthday and Thanksgiving break with his father in Lincoln. Collin set out on the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving.
Now, if you remember that Sunday, Dec. 1, it wasn’t bad weather, but the roads were hazardous. They were mostly icy from rain the day before and snow that blew across the road and froze.
Matthew explained that his son had just gotten his driver’s license at the end of his senior year in high school and didn’t know if it was wise sending his son out in the conditions.
“We get winters here, but he hasn’t driven on highways with black ice and all that good stuff,” Matthew said, tongue in cheek.
Nevertheless, Matt set out and was doing OK. He called after his first gas stop, then called just 20 minutes later and dad knew it wasn’t going to be a good call. By the time he had reached Cottonwood County, plows had been pulled off the roads and the sheriff’s department and MnDOT were advising no unnecessary travel.
“I answered the phone and I immediately said, ‘Are you OK?’ ” Matthew continues. “ ’Nooooo,’ he said. He had spun off the road, facing the wrong way, 10 feet off the shoulder, the back tires are stuck.”
What happened next was one of our Cottonwood County civil service employees – she will no doubt humbly tell you – “just doing her job.” Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Hall came upon Collin and invited him into her vehicle.
“He called and was sitting in the backseat of her car. She was hanging out with him until he got everything figured out,” Matthew says.
Now, imagine your 19-year-old son or daughter, who hasn’t experienced this kind of snow and ice, sitting in a emergency vehicle with his or her vehicle buried in snow. Quite likely he or she doesn’t have much money, certainly not the amount to call in a tow truck to get him out.
Hall, instead, took matters into her own hands.
“He called me back and said, ‘The sheriff’s deputy has a hook and I’ve got a spot under my car and we’re going to try to do it, just the two of us,’ ” Matthew says, continuing to share he and his son’s story.
“He calls me back and says, ‘We got it! She’s going to go down and block traffic so I can get turned around and going the right direction.’ ”
Matthew says his son was out of breath when he related the story and, of course, just thankful to be out and heading back to Brainerd. Matthew was hopeful to find out who this good Samaritan was to thank her. However, as all exasperated 19-year-olds, who had just been through a thee-hour ordeal, might be, he didn’t get her name.
“He said, ‘I hugged her a bunch of times and told her thank you a million times,’ ” Matthew says.
Meanwhile, Matthew was thanking God for putting the right person in the right place at the right time and praying that his son makes the remaining drive a safe one.
But the story doesn’t end there.
A short time later, Matthew gets a Facebook Messenger message from someone with whom he’s not a friend. The message said, “Just thought you’d like to know that you raised a polite, nice, respectable and thankful young man. I hope he makes it safely back to college tonight. Sincerely, a helping hand.”
That was how he learned it was Hall, who was Collin’s good Samaritan. But Hall didn’t stop there. Kim and Matthew exchanged a few messages and told Matthew that she has some connections in Brainerd and that if Collin ever needed anything, she would do what she could for him.
“I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and God sent a guardian angel in the form of Deputy Hall to take care of my son, when I couldn’t,” Matthew says.
Matthew apologized to me for the unusual call he was making, but he believed that others than just he, his son and Kim Hall should know about the extra mile she went to help a person in need.
“She was super humble. She said, ‘Hey, I was just doing my job.’ Well, to me, as a parent, that feels above and beyond and I couldn’t be more thankful,” he said.
This story tells me two things: One, it’s a story about what our public servants do everyday that we often don’t hear about; and, two, it’s a story that you wouldn’t have heard about, if not for a thankful father calling and sharing it with us.
Kudos to Deputy Hall and all of our public servants for the selfless and “guardian angel” work they do everyday.
How’s that for a day-brightener?