A good Samaritan story from 30 years ago would be a fine way to start the new year—and Donald Parker of Atlanta has one.
On a hot July afternoon 30 years ago, Parker and his father were returning from a trip to Canton. In the back of their truck were live birds and animals they'd purchased, destined for Floyd Parker Jr.'s Wildlife Park at the end of Green Farm Road at the edge of Wright Patman Lake.
At Tommy's Barbecue on U.S. Highway 59 just west of Atlanta, the truck broke down. Donald pulled over. He didn't know what to do because he had limited mechanical knowledge, no cellphone and automobiles were whizzing by on the highway.
"It was 98 degrees plus, and my 85-year-old father began having what seemed to be a heat stroke in the front seat," Parker said.
There was little likelihood he could flag down a motorist. Parker said he began to be shaky and scared.
"I couldn't stay. I couldn't go."
All of a sudden a truck pulled up beside them.
"Need help?" the man inside wanted to know.
'Yes, my truck's down and my dad's in trouble."
Almost without hesitation, the man said, "I'll be right back.'
In a few minutes, the man came back with a flatbed trailer. First, he put both Donald Parker and his father, Floyd Parker Jr. in his truck's front seat, turning on the air-conditioning blower.
Then, the man went to the rear, got out a chain. He attached it to the broken truck and winched the vehicle forward upon the trailer bed. He drove the pair home.
"I believe that he saved my dad," Parker said.
When Parker offered the good Samaritan money, it was refused. , he wouldn't take any money.
"I tried, but he wouldn't take any money. I managed to toss a couple of bills in the front seat as he drove away. Through the years, I had forgotten his name, but I know he saved my father."
That was 30 years ago.
Recently, Donald Parker had the opportunity to run into Ambrose James, a well-known Cass County handyman with a big smile and bigger personality. He's slender, tall and with military bearing because he has served 22 years in the National Guard.
"We happened to run into each other, and we both looked at each other for a moment. But it was Ambrose who spoke first," Parker said.
"Aren't you do you remember?"
"Of course, I did," Parker said. "We laughed, and I got his name, and this time I tried to get the last word. I told him he was a true American hero. But just like the money, he wouldn't take that either."