Happy New Year! How about a few stories of kindness to kick off 2022? May these inspire us all to be a little kinder the whole year through ...

It was October of 2016. I was a recent widower, 89 years old, and testing my new lifestyle. Road Scholar Travel listed a week in Washington, D.C., that seemed interesting. With a few other stops like Williamsburg and Monticello, it would be about a 2,000-mile round trip from Shrewsbury, Missouri. I enjoy driving, so why not?

Along Interstate 64 past Lexington, Kentucky, a problem developed — a loud engine noise followed by a knocking sound. The GPS map showed me near a small town. I drove very slowly off the side of the road to the exit. At a gas station/convenience store with no help or advice available ... now what to do? It was noon on Saturday and I needed to be in Washington, D.C., by Sunday evening for a dinner to start the week’s adventure.

After about an hour of back and forth discussion with my AAA travel insurance, the “fix it” solution was not possible until Monday, as all repair shops were closed on Saturday and Sunday. A motel was there, so the simple decision was to call and cancel the whole trip. 

But, here comes the good news ... a man and his wife in a pickup truck pulled into the gas station beside me. Seeing the hood up on my car, he said, “What’s the problem?” 

After explaining my predicament, he quickly looked over the engine and knew exactly what was wrong — a spark plug had exploded out of the engine. He continued, “I’m a mechanic, could fix it in less than an hour, but I live out of town and don’t have any tools with me, no parts to get you going.” The analysis and sympathy were helpful and appreciated as they drove away, wishing me good luck. 

A few minutes later, the couple — Dude and Donna Cardwell — pulled beside me a second time. They had discussed my problem and didn’t want me to miss that week in D.C., didn’t want to leave this old guy stranded, and offered a solution: “There’s an auto parts store close by — if you’ll buy the parts and tools I need, we’ll run down and get ‘em, fix it and you’ll be outta here in an hour,” he said.

His wife had talked him into this profoundly good deed. They would not accept any money, and these two wonderful, kind strangers saved my vacation!

—Harold Maness, Webster Groves

My husband and I live at Aberdeen Heights in Kirkwood. A resident here provides fresh flowers from her son’s home garden and arranges them in vases for the 30+ tables in our dining room. They’re so colorful and fragrant!

—Marcia Ritter, Kirkwood

Do you have a story of kindness to share? Drop me a line at or give me a buzz at 314-968-2699.