Good Samaritans still exist in Ozarks

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dear Editor:

Good Samaritans still walk among us. These Ozarks hills still hold many acts of kindness but many times they go unnoticed; this one shouldn't.

Just a week ago Sunday when my wife was returning home to Holiday Island from Cassville where she had been visiting family, just north of Eagle Rock on Highway 86, she unavoidably ran over a board with nails in it, which punctured both tires on the left side of our new SUV. Unaware of the damage, she drove on, and as she approached the Eagle Rock bridge of the lake, she received a warning on the instrument panel that air pressure was low in two tires and on the way down. There was no place to stop until she reached the service station at the junction of Highway 23. Being late Sunday afternoon, there was no place to make repairs; so we left the car there overnight. Early Monday morning I went back to assess the damage and realized that with two flats, possibly damaged beyond repair, my one spare would not enable me to drive to a service location. I needed road service.

Leaving the crippled car, I drove to Golden in hopes of finding someone who could provide some repair service. At the first place I stopped, I was told that road service was not available so I continued to the next stop, Shumaker Tire Company. Once again I explained my plight; but was very politely told that road service was not available. However I was very courteously provided a phone number for a tire shop in Berryville, Ark., some 15 or so miles away, who would likely come out and fix my problem.

While standing there in Shumaker's, just after I called to Berryville, I overheard an older gentleman (about my age) speaking to a younger version of himself and saying, "I want to try to help this fellow."

In less than a minute, I found out that this fellow he was talking about was me and the man who was speaking was Keith Shumaker, long-time owner of the business, as he talked to one of his sons about my predicament. Just a few moments later, Keith grabbed Jason, one of his shop technicians, loaded some tools in his own personal new pickup and we set off to fix my problem before the approaching thunderstorm hit us.

Quickly they downloaded the spare from his truck and the one from mine, changed out the flat tires, and we headed back to Golden, getting just a little wet before we left. Back at the shop, they made me "good as new" again and sent me on my way.

It is obvious that even though Mr. Shumaker runs a big business and has a sizeable technician force, he still hasn't forgotten how to change a tire or to innovate a quick fix when needed. In the course of that morning, Shumaker's gained a new customer, and as we engaged in story-telling about our experiences, I gained a new friend; I hope Keith did too.

Hats off and special recognition to Mr. Keith Shumaker, whose kindness and generosity reached out beyond normal business services when he saw a fellow who needed help on a rainy Monday morning. It is no mystery why his business is so successful. Thanks again, Keith.


Gary Norris

Holiday Island, Arkansas?