No amount of technology and innovation is going to take away the importance of human trust and connection. Proving just that is this story from the small village of Wild Rose, Wisconsin – population, barely over 700 people!
To put Wild Rose’s location into perspective, it is about an hour’s drive from the more famous city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and despite being quaint and beautiful – it is rarely considered a destination in itself. It’s the kind of place we imagine people only stop in when running out of gas or snacks, while on to bigger and better adventures elsewhere! Or in one driver’s case, when there’s car trouble…
Todd Steinkamp had trekked 300 miles and had 70 miles to go when his left tire began making an unusual grinding noise. It was early Monday morning but Todd, an Iowa resident, had already been on the road for a few hours – on his way to a funeral.
Not knowing what was wrong with his car, he decided to look for an auto shop and saw a sign for one attached to a small convenience store in Wild Rose, called Lauritzen Sports. Given how early it was though, he wasn’t too hopeful about getting the help he needed. He walked inside the store anyway:
“… an older gentlemen was putting oil on a shelf as I stupidly asked him “do you work here”? (Of course he worked there….random people don’t just walk into stores and stock shelves).”
Todd told the elderly man about his car trouble and was relieved to find out that he was also the mechanic for the garage next door. After a quick inspection of the car, the man confirmed problems with the wheel bearing. Todd recalls:
“He asked how much further I had to go and I told him 70 miles or so. He told me no way was it going to make it that far. I asked if they could fix it and he said yes but it will be a few hours. I asked if there was a place to rent a car at and being a small town of 725 people, there was nothing.”
This was not welcome news to Todd who was trying to make it to a funeral in Green Bay, to pay respect to his boss’s wife who had passed away at 93 years of age. He shared this with the man when asked, and what happened next completely took him by surprise:
“I must have looked pretty stressed out at this time because Glenn then reached into his pocket, pulled out the keys to HIS own vehicle and said “Take my truck. Fill it up with gas, don’t turn on the emergency lights and get going.” “She’ll do 120mph if you need it to” with a smile on his face. He was giving his own keys to a stranger that he met just TEN MINUTES before this.”
At this point, they didn’t even know each other’s names, but clearly that wasn’t going to get in the way of kindness. Todd refused at first, but seeing that there wasn’t much of a choice in the matter, decided to take the keys and drove off! He made it to the funeral thanks to the generous act of the 74-year-old stranger named Glenn Gieb!
Todd drove back to Wild Rose after the funeral service and spent some time with Glenn before driving his own car back home to Iowa. Glenn’s selfless act had made such a huge impact on Todd that he decided to share the experience on Facebook:
“We sat and talked for a while when I got back as I thanked him and he told me more about himself. Glenn.the 74 year old mechanic with a grip of steel turned a terrible day into a good one with a great lesson.”
Among those who saw the post online was Glenn’s boss who ended up posting a comment saying:
“Thank you Glenn from all of us at Lauritzen’s for taking such great care (of) us and our customers and the village of Wild Rose. All your efforts and hard work do not go unnoticed.”
Another comment came from Glenn’s own granddaughter, Lisa Spreitzer, who said:
“That’s my grandpa! And he probably doesn’t even think what he did was a big deal. He’s truly amazing. (I already knew that. Now the world gets to know).”
Here’s a video showing Glenn and a much-less stressed Todd!
Call it a small town disposition, but Glenn’s decision to trust a stranger with his own car just so that he didn’t miss a funeral, says a lot about human decency and trust! We hope his message spreads like wild fire!