I want to thank several people that I do not know and one that I briefly met who was so kind as to offer me his home when I was down and out. I probably will never see them again, but in this Trumpian age of cruelty and divisiveness toward the less fortunate spawned by a shameless oligarchy for its own selfishness, each showed the opposite in altruism and humanity.

On the night of Wednesday, August 22, I suddenly found myself helpless by the side of the road. I was heading to Montpelier from Moretown on Route 100B when I heard an ominous snapping in my engine. My car recoiled as if anti-aircraft fire had hit it. I glided along until I managed to muscle the powerless car over into the breakdown lane by Moretown Common Road. I learned later to my financial chagrin that the timing belt had snapped off. I opened the hood, turned on the hazards, called AAA, and sat on a guardrail to await the rescue they said would happen in under an hour.

No sooner had I hung up than a good Samaritan stopped to ask me if I was alright. This was a woman and a child entering Moretown Common Road. I assured her that I was and she drove away only when satisfied that I was getting help; then a red pickup swerved over from the opposite direction. A man about my age leaned out the open window to inquire, “Are you alright?” After my reassurances reassured him, a couple swung out of the opposite lane to offer a ride anywhere I “needed to go.”

A storm was brewing in mountainous clouds on the horizons. It was moving in and darkness was almost total when another Samaritan appeared from 100B, entering Moretown Common Road. This was the man who offered me his house “just down the road” as temporary refuge, a gesture that was most gracious since AAA had bad news just then: They could not get me for another three hours. We discussed the options. I decided to try another towing service and he waited with me until this place confirmed that they were "on the way.”

We were all complete strangers to each other, but this made no difference and I cannot thank them enough.

Walter Carpenter lives in Montpelier.