U.S. Veteran Assists Gen. Colin Powell with Flat Tire
U.S. Veteran Assists General Colin Powell with Flat Tire

U.S. Veteran Assists General Colin Powell with Flat Tire

One of the things that makes America such a great place is the prevalence of patriotic spirit that lives within its citizens. From big cities to small towns, you can go anywhere in America a find yourself in the presence of people who are proud of their country and everything it represents.

The simplest display of patriotism is in the form of a good deed. Taking the time out of your day to help someone when they need it says more about being American than almost anything else. And, if you happen to be helping out a military service member or veteran, that good deed means even more! Such is the case of the patriotic example that made headlines in 2020.

A Flat Tire Turns into a Good Deed

On Thursday, January 24th, 2020 a heartwarming story played out on the side of I-495 in Maryland. Four-star general and former Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, was on his way to an appointment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center when he suffered a flat tire. General Powell began the process of changing his tire but before he could get the lug bolts removed in the cold weather, a good Samaritan stopped to help.

Anthony Maggert, a disabled Afghanistan war veteran, jumped straight into action, helping change the flat tire and asking only for a selfie with the General in return.

Yesterday was a reassuring day for me,” Powell said. “I was on my way to Walter Reed Military Hospital for an exam. As I drove along Interstate 495 my left front tire blew out. I’m a car guy, and knew I could change it, but it was cold outside and the lug bolts were very tight. I jacked the car up and got several of the bolts removed when a car suddenly pulled up in front of me.”

The General’s story is a heartwarming one right off the bat—but it becomes even more sentimental when we learn how it played out further.

As the man got out of his car, I could see that he had an artificial leg,” said Powell. “He said he recognized me and wanted to help me. We chatted and I learned that he lost his leg in Afghanistan when he worked over there as a civilian employee. He grabbed the lug wrench and finished the job as I put the tools away. Then, we both hurriedly headed off to appointments at Walter Reed. I hadn’t gotten his name or address, but he did ask for a ‘selfie.’”

The Other Side of the Story

The impromptu meeting clearly meant a great deal to General Powell. After learning the identity of the man who helped him, the general posted the story with his reply.

Thanks, Anthony. You touched my soul and reminded me about what this country is all about and why it is so great,” Powell wrote on Facebook. “Let’s stop screaming at each other. Let’s just take care of each other. You made my day.

Later, Mr. Maggert contacted the former Secretary of State on Facebook and left him this heartwarming message:

Gen. Powell, I hope I never forget today because I’ll never forget reading your books,” the message said. “You were always an inspiration, a leader and statesman. After 33 years in the military, you were the giant whose shoulders we stood upon to carry the torch to light the way and now it is tomorrow’s generation that must do the same.”

This simple story shows the compassion and patriotism that defines who we are as Americans. It doesn’t need to be a veteran service member and a high-ranking general—this situation could happen to anyone, anywhere, and in America, they’d get the help they needed from a stranger. The nuances of this story in particular simply make it a shining example.

Do a Good Deed for Someone Else

If you’re inspired by this story, remember that you have the power to make your own story—to be your own example of compassion and patriotic spirit. The next time you see someone who needs help or are in a position to lend a hand to someone else, take that opportunity to do good. Being the best version of yourself means passing on the patriotic spirit to someone else, and reminding them what it means to be a country united.

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