The Heartwarming Reason This Small-Town Mechanic Gave His Car to a Man He Only Knew for 10 Minutes

A random act of kindness turned a lousy day into a beautiful one.

01-This-Man-Lent-His-Car-to-a-Stranger-He’d-Met-10-Minutes-BeforeCourtesy Todd Steinkamp

After spending a long night driving the day before, Iowa resident Todd Steinkamp left his hotel around 5:30 a.m. to make it to a funeral in Green Bay, Wisconsin. About half an hour into his journey down back roads, he noticed a small grinding sound coming from his front tire. By 7 a.m., he still had 70 miles ahead of him, but the noise was so loud that he knew he had no choice but to stop.

Steinkamp figured there was little chance anyone in Wild Rose, Wisconsin—a tiny town with a population of 725—could help so early in the morning. Still, he took his chances at Lauritzen Sports auto repair shop. Spotting Glenn Geib stocking the shelves, Steinkamp asked for help. Giving Steinkamp a once-over, Geib asked why the other man was so dressed up, and Steinkamp explained his dilemma.

The mechanic checked out the car and told Steinkamp what he’d feared: The wheel bearing was failing. Fixing it would take a few hours, but there was no chance the car would make it that distance without repairs.

Distressed, Steinkamp started wracking his brain for a backup plan. Could he rent a car at such short-notice? Geib checked in at the store across the street, but its only rental car wasn’t available. Finding another place to rent would require a 40-mile drive.

02-This-Man-Lent-His-Car-to-a-Stranger-He’d-Met-10-Minutes-BeforeCourtesy Todd Steinkamp

“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,” Steinkamp wrote in a Facebook post. With a smile, Geib added that the truck could go 120 miles per hour if needed. (Don’t miss these 21 other moving stories about random acts of kindness.)

The men had met just 10 minutes before and didn’t know each other’s names, but Geib insisted. Steinkamp hopped in the 1999 Chevrolet Silverado, complete with tools and split wood in the back, and made it to the funeral. When he came back to the garage seven hours later with a thankful heart, he stuck around to chat with Geib.

“The 74-year-old mechanic with a grip of steel turned a terrible day into a good one with a great lesson,” Steinkamp wrote. “Just be kind and help if you can.”

Do you live in a place where people are always doing random acts of kindness? Help us in our search for Nicest Place in America by nominating it today! If chosen, it will appear on an upcoming cover of Reader’s Digest!

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.