Amber Fretts was having a bad day.
Fretts, a practical nurse who delivers home care to elderly clients in the Brockville area, managed to lock her keys and cellphone in her car on her first stop of the day one day last week.
Stressed and panicky – she had a full roster of clients to visit – Fretts borrowed a phone book from her client and called Brockville Towing, the first name in the yellow pages.
The truck arrived in 30 minutes and the driver had her door opened 10 minutes later.
Relieved, Fretts took out her credit card to pay.
“No charge,” the driver told her. He said he was instructed by the owner not to charge Fretts because she is a front-line worker.
Fretts said she was overcome by the company’s kind gesture and generosity.
“It was marvelous,” Fretts said. “It made my day; it just made me so happy. It was heart-warming.”
She said the company’s kindness probably saved her $100 or so in fees.
Fretts works for St. Elizabeth health care, a not-for-profit agency that offers home care for its mostly elderly clients. She lives in Gananoque and serves clients from Gan to Brockville. Fretts said the service is even more crucial during the pandemic because it helps seniors stay in their own homes and out of long-term care homes or hospitals.
Jamie Topping, owner of Brockville Towing, said he was moved by the plight of the stranded nurse when she called him. She mentioned that her locked car was serious because of all the people that she had to look after that day.
“Every so often you’ve got to be nice and throw one back at somebody,” Topping said.
He said that tow-truck drivers often find themselves in the same position. A driver must make the rounds regardless of weather or hardship.
“You can’t call a motorist stranded on the side of the road and tell them you can’t make it,” Topping said.
He said he realizes that a lot of people are going through hard times because of COVID but his company is doing OK.
“Sometimes it’s just good to give back,” he said.