Deflated when she couldn’t afford the cost of a new set of tires for her car when only one was busted, an elderly woman in Texas tried to leave the repair shop, unaware that a state trooper heard the uneasy conversation she had with the mechanic.
Mary Summers, a 92-year-old Texas woman ran into some bad luck when she rolled her car over a nail that punctured one of her tires. Taking her car into Integrity Tires in Richmond, Texas, to have the tire patched up, the elderly woman was told the repairs were more than she could afford.
Omar Oregueda, the tending mechanic, sat with Mary and explained that her vehicle was unsafe to drive with all four tires dangerously worn. There was no bandage solution for her, they needed to be replaced, which would cost her $600.
“I can’t do all the tires,” Mary told local news station KHOU. “I can just do the one and let me know how much this one tire is going to be.”
Despite the woman’s pleas, Oregueda refused.
“The tire on her vehicle wasn’t repairable, and the other tires were shot,” Oregueda explained. “They were already completely destroyed.”
Captured on the repair shop’s video, obtained by local news station KHOU news, you can see Mary’s disappointment when she hears the news and slowly, she pulls her walker close to her chair, lifting herself to stand and leave the shop.
What Mary didn’t know is that there was a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper sitting right behind her, listening to the entire conversation.
Before he left the shop, DPS Trooper Drew Stoner walked to the desk behind Mary and left her a huge surprise.
Shortly after, Omar returned to talk to Mary, telling her she’d get four new tires, at no cost.
“He said, ‘they’re paid for,’” Mary said, her jaw dropping to the ground when she was told. “And I can hardly talk about it now because I want to cry because he did that. And, he did it, and he left.”
Inspiring generosity, Oregueda also wanted to do something nice for the elderly woman and gave her a free oil change.
“For a stranger to take care of another stranger like that … let’s all just take care of each other,” Omar said. “That’s what it’s about.”
Wanting to thank the officer for rescuing her in such an unexpected way, KHOU tracked him down and reunited Mary with Stoner, who visited her at her home.
Stoner explained that he wasn’t looking for attention, more that he had a feeling in his gut that he had to do it, to keep her, and other drivers safe.
“I’m thinking, ‘What if she goes out on the road, and a tire goes out on her, kind of falls apart on her, and she’s on the side of the road?’” he said.
Embracing the trooper with genuine gratitude, Mary said “I’m just so thankful for you. I’m so proud. I’m proud to meet someone that has a heart that big. I just love you to death.”
The story of Trooper Doper rescuing Mary is blowing up the internet, with people praising the officer’s unsolicited kindness.
One person writes, “This trooper is a true American!! He stands for what America is all about. People Helping People no matter what.” And another one simply says, “That’s a hero!”
While DPS Trooper Doper helped Mary in 2020, the next year he was awarded the Medal of Valor–the highest honor of the DPS–for his “bravery and dedication” in apprehending a shooter and saving a woman with gunshot wounds, which happened before his shift.
DPS Trooper Drew Stoner is a true hero who genuinely wants to help for the good of the community, and not just so he can gain recognition. We sure are lucky to have officers like him out there and we’d like to give him a huge thank you for all his work.