Saluda, North Carolina, is a historic village in the foothills of the mountains, and mountain roads get mighty slick when covered with snow or freezing rain. Not long ago, during a snow storm, you can imagine how worried LaShea Colson (shown below) felt when her car spun off the road near Saluda. Would she and her four children have to stay in the car all night? Then another car spun off the road near her. That driver, Sarah Kelleher, was driving alone. "I was just sitting there crying because I was really scared," she said later. From their disabled cars, both women could see the Saluda Truck Plaza, and walked there to ask for help. The station was scheduled to close at 10 p.m. but owner Hitesh Patel decided to convert it into a safe haven.
He didn't just let them use the bathroom. He invited them to spend the night in the gas station lounge. He brought in cots for them to sleep on, and a gas heater to keep them warm, and even a television to keep them entertained. Why? "I saw one of those girls. She looked like my niece," so he left the station open all night. Colson called him "an angel" and her children decorated Post-it notes to thank him for his kindness.