Heading north on I-35 following the DFL Women’s Hall of Fame luncheon I pulled off in North Branch to buy a tank of gasoline.
Armed with my 10 cent per gallon and coffee coupons I went in to pay but discovered I had misplaced my debit card.
That’s when panic began to set in.
Digging through the pockets of my purse I found some cash but still came up short by $11.35.
Seventy miles from home with a dead cell phone I was in a tough spot.
I borrowed the station’s phone to call my husband for my debit card number.
When I was explaining the situation to him the clerk leaned in to say she couldn’t take a credit card number by phone.
I told my husband I’d call him right back after I could figure out my options.
As a young man in a red hoodie and other customers began to line up behind me, the clerk told me I could give her my drivers license information, leave my cell phone as collateral and return with the cash. I could have someone deliver the cash or we could have the police help settle the matter.
My panic level jumped a few points to be sure.
Police? I’ve never had an encounter or a ticket for that matter. But, gas drive offs and no pays are a serious deal.
Borrowing the station’s phone a second time I turned my back to the counter and explained all of that to my husband who volunteered to jump in his car and bring some cash.
Before I could hang up I turned back to the clerk who pointed at a pile of cash on the counter and said, “You’re covered.”
The young man in line behind me had placed it there. We made eye contact and he said, “Have a safe trip home.”
I asked for his name and address so I could repay him but he refused.
Fighting back tears, I asked if I could give him a hug.
“You seem like a nice lady and you were in trouble. I just wanted to help,” he whispered as we embraced.
When people ask me to describe “Minnesota Nice” I’ll tell them about my North Branch angel in a red hoodie who didn’t hesitate to help a stranger.