Janet Fleming discovers the kindness of strangers this Christmas season

Dec 12, 2023 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Advance Auto Parts employees David Crowl, left, and Kevin Edwards, right, didn’t hesitate to help Janet Fleming when she was in a dire situation. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)


Janet Fleming found hope this Christmas season through the help of unexpected strangers. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

When a Danbury Township woman’s life was falling apart, unexpected strangers stepped in to pick up the pieces. Everything seemed to hit Janet Fleming at once – an eviction notice, an ill son, a disabled car, a lost wallet. But with each calamity came an angel dressed in blue jeans to help.

The eviction notice was unexpected and confusing. Fleming said the complaint of “noncompliance” could only be attributed to her son’s truck which sat disabled in her driveway due to two flat tires. Her son was in the hospital and unable to address the problem.

“Sometimes there are good reasons why people do things or don’t do things,” Fleming said.

She remembered meeting a nice young employee at Advance Auto Parts in Port Clinton a year earlier and hoped he could offer advice. She couldn’t recall his name, but she remembered his kindness. With little hope of connecting with him, she drove to the business, praying all the way.

“I pulled up, and the young man was standing right in the doorway,” Fleming said.

That young man was David Crowl, and when he learned of Fleming’s troubles, he offered to stop by her house after work to repair the tires.

“He worked all day and didn’t hesitate to help me. He was there until 11:30 at night fixing it,” Fleming said.

One of the tires wouldn’t hold air, so Crowl and another Advance Auto Parts employee, Kevin Edwards, returned the next morning with a replacement tire.

“You don’t know how thankful I am and how perfect the timing was. They are such a great example of kids in their generation,” Fleming said. “I am so appreciative. They have been such a blessing to me.”

On Black Friday, Fleming and her son stopped by Speedway gas station on Milan Rd. in Sandusky to fill up her tank, tossed some fast food bags into the garbage before leaving, and then headed off for a day of holiday shopping. At their first stop, her son realized he had lost his wallet.

“The last place we stopped was Speedway, so we drove back, and I started praying,” Fleming said.

Thinking her son had mistakenly tossed his wallet with the trash, she began sorting through the garbage can. Employee DeJay Hurst asked if she was looking for something. A customer turned the wallet in, and Hurst kept it safe while she tried to find the owner.

“They had my wallet. An older gentleman found it and turned it in. Thank you, whoever you are, and thank you, DeJay,” Fleming said. “My prayers were answered again.”

It’s been a difficult season for Fleming, but each time she feels desperate, she looks around the corner and finds a kind stranger heading her way. She said St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marblehead and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sandusky “both helped me in desperate situations.”

“Thank you, God, for showing me there are good and trustworthy people out there,” she said.

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June 2024

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