It's something many people can relate to — you're driving in an unfamiliar area, the weather turns bad, then worse, and the last place you want to be is behind the wheel.
This is what happened to Lynn Marchessault in November when she was making her way from Georgia to Alaska with her 13-year-old son Payton, 10-year-old daughter Rebecca and their two dogs and cat. The family was making the trek to reunite with Marchessault's husband, a staff sergeant in the US Army stationed in Fairbanks, according to CNN.
Though they had traveled more than 3,000 miles and successfully crossed the Canadian border, authorities warned Marchessault to stop only for food and gas while staying off main roads because of harsh weather. As she continued north, the weather worsened, and Marchessault was faced with treacherous driving conditions due to snow that blocked her vision and made the roads slippery.
The circumstances were made more difficult considering she had a large U-Haul trailer filled with belongings hitched to her truck. According to the New York Times, Marchessault also lost cell reception and was forced to buy a GPS device to help with navigation.
"So I pull up to the gas station," Marchessault recalled to CNN. "My kids had to go to the restroom, they put their masks on, so I was out at the vehicle … I'm a complete wreck — I was crying at this point — and a woman came out of the gas station. She says, 'Are you okay?'"
"At this point, I just needed to vent to somebody, and it all just started to come out," she continued. "I explained how I was having trouble getting up the road, and I wasn't getting any traction, and she said: 'Let's check your tires.' I was under the impression I had all-weather tires, that's what the dealership told me, but she checked and she said: 'Honey, these are summer tires.' "
The woman took Marchessault to a nearby tire shop where she had winter tires installed on her truck.
During that time, the woman had posted a request to Facebook asking if there were any veterans available to help Marchessault and the family get to Alaska. Gary Bath, a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Cadet Instructors Cadre, answered the call.
“I didn’t even think twice about how I was going to get home,” Bath told the Times. “I just concentrated on driving and getting everyone there safely.”
While her husband had his concerns about the gesture, Marchessault felt the offer was one she couldn't pass up.
“I feel I made the right choice,” Marchessault told the newspaper. “I needed to make a choice for my children.”
The family would finally reach their destination with Bath's help two days later. Bath would return home on a flight paid for by other veterans who were moved by his gesture. While the journey is over, it didn't end without Marchessault making a friend in Bath along the way.
"We just clicked from the get-go," Marchessault told CNN of the kind veteran. "Just like old friends. it was a really nice drive. He deserves all the credit. He's a good guy."
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