The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 23, 2014

Letters to the Editor 2/23/14

The News Courier

The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 200 words and include name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing.  Writers are limited to one published letter every 30 days. Send letters to P.O. Box 670, Athens AL 35613 or email to

Visitor appreciates city’s kindness

Dear Editor:

Let me tell you a story:

When we — my two dogs, Mickey, and Sparky plus yours truly — pulled up to the Raceway pump at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, we soon realized that in our haste to pack we had omitted one important item — namely my billfold replete with ID, cash and plastic, which had remained behind in Birmingham, actually Jemison, at my old classmate Sid Godbee’s house.

Unfortunately, we were not only low on gas, but at this point the motor chose to blow — timing belt and valves — so we were camping out when Athens’ “finest” — in the truest sense of the word — presented themselves in the form of Patrolman Bobby Hand and first team “Dispatch Lady” Mary Powers. Bobby provided cash, while Mary worked her magic on the phone, finding a place where three waywards might hang their hats. They did not stop there, however!

They made sure that Tommy Morris of Athens Auto Tire and Wrecker Service was there promptly at 8:30 the next morning and, after towing us in, it was he who provided the bad news. He also noted that heavy weather was ahead and that we would be best served to be back in Jemison.

To that end, he provided both wheels — in the form of an S10 pickup and additional cash for gas and incidentals; remember, I had no identification. At this writing, I am still in said pickup and my vehicle should be ready sometime this week for us to continue our journey home to Marseilles, Ill.

My friends and cohorts up north are in awe of my tale — as am I in some respects — but in another life I played tackle for the University of Georgia and graduated from high school in Birmingham, and while it is nice to see that “Southern Hospitality” in the form of just plain “human kindness” is not only alive and well, but thriving in the town of Athens, Alabama — and boy, I sure am sincerely thankful for that fact — it comes as no surprise. What is unique is that so many folks got together so fast to accomplish so much for a perfect stranger. I’ll never forget it, and am somewhat envious of the folks who call Athens home. Thanks Bobby, Mary Freda, Tommy and everyone involved.

Kind of sad really, that there are probably 49, or so other states wherein this story might not have happened! Just thought y’all might like to know — sweet home Alabama, indeed.


Michael Meatheringham

Marseilles, Ill.