BUSHNELL – It was a day that Amanda Paterson says she will never forget. Paterson, a mother from Georgia, was traveling from Valdosta to Tampa to take her daughter Alexis to the Shriner’s Hospital when she began having car trouble.
“We had gone 150 miles with a little over 60 left and my car started freaking out, lights were coming on and I wasn’t sure what to do,” she stated in a post on Facebook. “My car died and I coasted off the freeway (Interstate 75) down an on-ramp and made it to the gas station.”
It was at that gas station, the Sunoco on West C48 in Bushnell that Paterson’s luck changed dramatically. Patterson was stressed and crying, unsure of what to do being so far from home and needing to get Alexis to her doctor’s appointment when Lt. Donald Knee noticed her.
“I was pumping gas when I noticed a woman with the hood of her van up and crying, so I went to see what was wrong,” said Lt. Knee.
Paterson told Lt. Knee about her car trouble and that she was on her way to take her daughter to the Shriner’s Hospital in Tampa.
After hearing this, Lt. Knee asked her to wait there. While she waited, Knee met with Howard Grice at Lynch Recyclers Inc., a local towing and mechanic shop, and explained the situation to Grice. Minutes later, a tow truck from Lynch Recyclers showed up to pick up Paterson and her daughter and tow her vehicle back to the shop.
“I knew in the back of my mind this was not going to be cheap but at that point, I was just happy to be safe and getting the car fixed,” said Paterson, “About 30 minutes later he let me know it was the alternator, I saw more dollar signs. But I was ok with just getting us home safe.”
Grice replaced the alternator for Paterson and came back to let her know her van was ready. “He came in and said you are good to go. I looked at him and asked ‘how much do I owe you?’ He said ‘Nothing…just get your baby girl to her appointment.'”
Grice did not charge Paterson for any parts or labor and got her and her daughter back on the road safely. When we spoke to Grice he said, “He (Lt. Knee) told me she was trying to get her daughter to the Shriner’s Hospital, and people that have to go there it is normally for something major. I just wanted to make sure she got there.”
In today’s society with so much bad publicity against police officers, this story lifts hope everywhere letting us know there are still good officers as well as good people out there.
Paterson posted her experience on Facebook wanting to thank Lt. Knee and Howard Grice Wednesday night and it immediately went viral with 2,781 shares. We want to extend that thank you not only to Lt. Knee and Lynch Recyclers but to all the Law Enforcement Officials and good samaritans out there just like these two.