The Kindness of Strangers - A True Story

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Ben, an experienced marine mechanic, left the lakes of Montana in search of a new job in a year-round market. He loaded his dog, Max, and all his tools in his VW Beetle and headed south. Before long, perhaps because of the weight of those tools, his engine blew up. He got towed back to the small town of Dillon, Montana. His car was totaled. What now? 

Then the couple who owned the tow truck, and the junk yard, said, “We know a guy who buys and sells cheap cars. We’ll reach out to him, maybe he can find you something.” 

The car guy said, “Well, I got an old van. It’s not pretty, but its reliable. I can sell it to you for $850.” Ben bought the homely van, big enough to sleep in, and he and Max hit the road again. 

Ben travelled all the way to Key Largo, where there were plenty of jobs, but nowhere to live as hurricane Irma had devastated the community. He moved on to Key West, sleeping in his van, protected by his dog, hoping he could find work before he ran out of money. To make matters worse, while driving around trying to find a place to park for the night, Ben took a wrong turn and ended up at a dead end. He had little energy, or optimism, left. A red-headed man walked over to him and asked, “What’s up man? What are you looking for?” 

“A place to park my van for the night – and a job,” Ben answered. “I’m a boat mechanic.”

“I can help with both of those. You can park over there next to that trailer,” the man said, “and I’ll have you a job by tomorrow morning.” 

True to his promise, the next day Ben had a job repairing his favorite engines, older boats and jet skis. The new boss invited him to live aboard a sailboat in the harbor, and Max was welcome, too. This journey, filled with unexpected troubles, was also filled with the kindness of strangers. Especially the kindness of that red-headed homeless man.