Thomas Weller has spent the last 50 years helping strangers who break down on the highway.
At StoryCorps he remembered the night, as a teenager in Illinois, that he discovered his calling.
Music Info: "1986" by Fredrik from the album Na Na Ni.
Click here for the transcript.
He stopped to help me, and he pulled my car out with a chain. And when I asked him what I owed him, he said, “You just pass it on.” And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
I try to go out every day, and I cruise around San Diego County. And I search for folks in trouble on the freeway, and I rescue them.
I carry spare parts, several different kinds of hydraulic jacks, a baby delivery kit. Never had to use it.
I had one fellow who was a scary-looking dude. He was muscle-bound, and he had tattoos. Well, he had a flat on his T-bird. I put the spare on the car. We shook hands, and I turned to leave, and all of a sudden, he had me by the shoulder, and he spun me back around. I’m thinking, Oh my God, now what?
The man was crying. He said nobody in his life had ever done anything like that for him. And that I had just changed his life.
Makes me want to cry!
I’ve been called the Lone Ranger. And I’ve been called an angel more times than I can count. But, I’m no angel! When you help somebody else, you help yourself. And, it’s, uh, real gratifying.