Gary Bath, from Fort St. John, B.C. is earning praise for helping out a family from the United States in need and going out of his way to do so. Way out of his way.
The family was on their way to Alaska and the woman was overwhelmed by the winter driving conditions and couldn’t drive any farther, so reached out online for help. Her not being able to make the drive left them in a bind, as they are only given a four to six day period by Canada to travel from the lower 48 states to Alaska during COVID. Gary knew this.
“I didn’t care how far it was, I just knew they needed help and they had a few short days to hit the border before they were going to get in trouble, so,” Bath said.
He knew they were in a tight spot and he didn’t mind driving. So he agreed to undertake the roughly 1,700 kilometre trip up the Alaska Highway from northern B.C. to Beaver Creek, Yukon. Gary said the stranded woman, Lynn Marchessault, is a former member of the U.S. military and was driving herself and her two children to Alaska to join her husband, a current member of the military. Bath is a Canadian Ranger, and he said that was an added incentive for him to get involved.
Lynn said she had never driven in snow before when she and her two children left Georgia to drive north. Her pickup was towing a large U-Haul trailer, and I guess you can imagine how intimidating that would be not knowing how winter can get up north.
As soon as she hit snowy roads she began having trouble with traction on hills. Marchessault believed the tires on the truck were rated all-weather, but shortly after leaving Fort St. John a woman told her they were actually summer tires and helped Marchessault find a set of studded winter tires.
Marchessault continued on, but the driving stress was too much and she pulled over at a highway lodge for temporary workers at Pink Mountain, B.C. The staff there let her and her two children stay the night while she went online to see if she could find somebody to take over.
She was still trying to figure out what to do, as her husband couldn’t come help due to COVID restrictions, when Gary and his wife showed up with extra winter clothing and an offer to drive her and her family in their vehicle to the border.
“I had to make the hard choice — were my children safer in my own hands in these conditions, or in the hands of a kind stranger who was willing to get us to where we needed to be, safely,” said Marchessault.
She eventually accepted and Gary says the drive was uneventful and while they all wore masks the entire time in the truck, he eventually dropped them off to meet up with Lynn’s husband.
That’s when Gary’s friends stepped up to get him home. An RCMP officer in Beaver Creek gave him a ride back from the border and found him a ride to Whitehorse, donations from the public got him a flight back to Fort St. John.
While Lynn is marveling at the kindness and generosity of Bath and his wife, Gary is more interested in the kindness others showed in providing lodging, lifts, and loans.
Gary said he was struck by the kindness he was shown by various people, including women working at the highway lodge at Pink Mountain and the motor inn at Beaver Creek.
Marchessault has similar comments. “We are forever grateful to Gary and I’m thankful to his wife for bringing him up and loaning him out. I met her that morning when she drove him up to the inn. And so we just had a good time,” she said. She said she hopes they can all meet up again when her family eventually moves back south. This kindness is how we show Love to our neighbour. It’s your Good News Story of the Day, find it here.
But Lynn also said Canadian drivers were kind toward her on several occasions. “There’s a lot of road rage in my life, especially in America, but there were several times where I was driving pretty slow and I never experienced not one, not one interaction of road rage or anything,” she said. That too is loving your neighbour as yourself. Take the time to consider the other drivers on the road and what they might be dealing with before you let your temper fly.
Story and Image from CBC News.