This letter is too long for publication but too nice not to share:
This is a real letter from a real (nonpolitically strident) person, written late at night on July 4th.
l'd like to tell you about my day. The plan was to drive from my Apex home to Farmville for its Independence Day festivities. My 80+-year-old parents were to play in a pre-fireworks concert given by the Tar River Community Band from Greenville, where my folks live (mother, Helen, on euphonium and father, Stan, on trumpet). Left home about 4:30 (concert was at 7 p.m.) and was going around the southern part of the Raleigh Beltline when I heard a sudden clattering.
Fearing a broken belt, I pulled off the road as far as possible, popped the hood and looked at the engine. Nothing seemed amiss (to my admittedly untrained eye) so I started looking elsewhere as traffic whizzed by. Scanning the rear driver's side tire, my heart dropped as I spied the culprit: a 4-inch-long L-shaped metal hex-drive jammed solidly in the tread.
I instinctively yanked the offending tool out. I then watched in horror as the tire quickly exhaled all remaining vestiges of life. (Note to self: Get OFF the freeway before removing objects of large girth from a tire.) The now total flat precluded
any further driving, and I knew the long odds of finding a repair shop open late in the day on July 4th.
So as raindrops began to fall, I crankily started getting out my ridiculously radius-ed spare and chintzy jack and tools. As the rain and winds picked up, I donned my serendipitously packed raincoat, the hood of which shielded my eyes from the dozens of cars flying by on rain-slicked asphalt. Better not to see a potential death-mobile coming my way as I hopped repeatedly on the wrench to loosen the lug nuts.
As I was close to being done, a voice through the rain asked, "Do you need help with that?" I looked up and saw a well-dressed man standing there getting rain-soaked, his wife in the car. I accepted gratefully, as he, surely, could put more torque into the lug nuts than I. He then helped lower the jack and throw the wounded tire into the car boot. The fellow said they had seen me struggling minutes earlier and had turned around to come back to help.
Out of the hundreds of drivers who passed me on a "nonwork" day, they were the only ones to stop and offer help. In the driving rain, I thanked him and his wife and told them my name. He replied that he was Kenn Gardner, and, as an afterthought, added that he was running for Secretary of State. I laughingly assured him that he would have my vote and meant it.
This story gets better. After Mr. Gardner and his lovely wife drove off, leaving me seemingly in the pink, in dismay I realized that 25 minutes of using flashers had rendered my apparently feeble battery useless. Very cranky now. After many minutes of debating whom to call, I heard a tap on the window, and it's Kenn Gardner again, wanting to know what the problem is now? (Perhaps he and his wife were running circuits around the Beltline that day helping other stranded, sodden motorists? Unlikely, but, if so, God bless 'em!)
I sheepishly told him, and he offered jumper cables and motor life. With his wife's assist, we strapped the engines together in the rain, and with a Frankensteinian jolt, my car roared back to life. After I thanked them both profusely, they waited for
me to pull onto the road ahead of them.
Now behind schedule, I scoot off to Farmville, arriving just before showtime. The now-absent rains have broken the heat, the concert is glorious and the fireworks after are suitably spectacular. A fine ending to a day trip of shaky origin.
We hear often when politicians have done wrong, either illegal or merely unethical acts. It doesn't make the news much when they do good things. It would be presumptuous for me to feign knowing exactly what skill-sets make up the perfect Secretary of State candidate. I do, however, know what kind of human being I like to see in a leadership position for our great state. I met one today.