The Saga of “Good Sam The Neighbor”

8-5-2016 10-48-28 AMAnthony Lindner moved here from Tennessee about six years ago to be nearer to his family. He had retired from a successful insurance business which he had built from the ground up, and this was actually his third professional career. Anthony was born in post WWII Germany in 1947. His father was murdered in Heidelberg when Anthony was three, and his mom eventually married an American. They moved to America, and during Vietnam, Anthony enlisted. It was on his induction day that he was naturalized as an American citizen. He flew Huey helicopters in Vietnam, and asked specifically to be a medevac pilot. This was one of the most dangerous jobs possible; Anthony was permanently bitten by the “flying bug,” and spent 20 years flying “birds” as well as fixed wing crafts. Upon retiring from the service as a CW 4 (Chief Warrant Officer), he flew for Eastern Airlines for three years, until the company went under. Beginning as a rookie insurance agent in his early 40s, he worked hard, and retired at the age of 57. It is ten years later, retirement has been good, and of the ways Anthony spends his time these days is to volunteer at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum. It was on his way to his volunteer shift that our story begins.

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“I live in a subdivision off of Newby Road,” he told me, “and we put our garbage out on Tuesday night. It was Wednesday morning, I had one more thing to put in the garbage can before I went to the Vets’ Museum, and I put my wallet and cell phone on the trunk of my car. I drove out of the subdivision, turned onto Hwy 72, and didn’t even know I had left them. I got to the museum, realized what I had done, told Yvonne Dempsey in a panic mode what had happened, and turned around to backtrack my route.”

What he didn’t know is that his “Good Samaritan” neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, saw what happened, followed Anthony’s path in his own automobile, looked for the phone and wallet as cars were whizzing by at 60 mph on 72, and miraculously found them both. “Sam” didn’t know where Anthony had gone, and kept an eye out for him to return. Now here is a bit of background on Sam. He lives in the next part of the subdivision over from Anthony, one that is newer and only has a couple of houses in it. He and Anthony had never met. Sam is married, a father, happens to be African American, and when he saw Anthony pull in, he waved to him with the found items in his hand, came over, returned the stuff, and introduced himself.

Anthony wanted to reward him, Sam wouldn’t hear of it. “You deserve something,” Anthony said to Sam. “No, I would do that for anyone,” said Sam. “I was taken aback,” Anthony said. “Not everyone would have stopped, searched, and risked their own life to help someone,” he added. Anthony wanted to have me interview them both, but Sam didn’t want the spotlight. “There’s got to be something I can do,” Anthony thought, and so, he asked Sam if he would accept some veggies from his garden. Sam agreed, and when someone else, (who had also heard what Sam had done), found out that he was willing to accept veggies, she brought tomatoes from her garden.

My fond hope for Sam is that he has to deal with the discomfort of having more veggies than he knows what to do with, and now that he and Anthony are friends who play Trivia together, that their story will spread.

Being a Good Samaritan never goes out of style, and Sam, you are one classy dude. Thank you from all of us.
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