Central Texas Sam’s Club employee crosses highway, tools in hand, to help stranded driver get back on the road

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BELLMEAD, Texas (KWTX) - A stranded Central Texas driver whose heavy-duty pickup broke down next to a busy highway for hours says he owes a local Sam’s club employee for going above and beyond to get him back on the road.

West resident Bill Zahirniak’s truck battery died in the parking lot of the AutoZone Auto Parts store in Bellmead.

Bill tells KWTX because of the type of computer system he has in his 2019 Dodge 3500, the auto parts store said they couldn’t help. He got a similar response, he says, at another nearby auto repair store.

Bill’s truck couldn’t even be jump-started, leaving him stranded for nearly four hours.

Bill tells KWTX because of the type of computer system he has in his 2019 Dodge 3500, the auto...
Bill tells KWTX because of the type of computer system he has in his 2019 Dodge 3500, the auto parts store said they couldn’t help.(Courtesy Photo)

He called his niece from West, Kristie Mason, hoping she’d have the tools to help but she didn’t. Kristie then made a call to Sam’s Club across the highway where a tire technician named Jeremiah Gunter, 24, of Elm Mott, answered the phone.

“It was a normal Sunday around two or three in the afternoon. I received a phone call on our store phone,” Jeremiah said. “She asked if I could come over and install the battery from AutoZone for them.”

Jeremiah told them for liability purposes he couldn’t install a battery purchased somewhere else. He first asked them to drive over, but when he learned the truck would not start despite repeated efforts, Jeremiah jumped into action.

“I told them I’d find someone to watch the desk for me and talk to customers if they came up,” Jeremiah said.

Jeremiah working at his Sam's Club
Jeremiah working at his Sam's Club(Courtesy Photos)

After four hours in the scorching heat, Kristie and Bill saw a glimmer of hope crossing the busy highway with tools in hand.

“Before we knew it, here comes Jeremiah across the construction in the highway with his tools in hand and he jump-started our truck and took care of us,” Kristie said.

Bill said he was back on the road within 10 minutes.

“Jeremiah saved us and was there to help when no one else was willing to. It’s nice to know there are still some whole-hearted, good people who will help a customer by going above and beyond their job description,” Bill said.

Kristie was so touched she took to Facebook to share the story of the selfless act.

“He’s a prime example of there are still good people in the world!” she wrote in the post.

Jeremiah at Westfest with the mug he received as a gift.
Jeremiah at Westfest with the mug he received as a gift.(Courtesy Photo)

Jeremiah said he didn’t expect the recognition and was just doing what he felt like was the right thing to do.

“The reason I helped them is because they were stuck and needed help,” Jeremiah said. “And that’s my job. Go above and beyond for the customer and to help them.”

When the three parted, they assumed they’d never see one another again, but just a few days later, Kristie ran into Jeremiah at Westfest. She asked her husband to hold her mug she’d purchased so she could go buy Jeremiah one.

It was the least she could do, she says.

“It wasn’t that much, but I hope he knows how truly grateful we are for him in more ways than one!” Kristie posted, along with a picture she took of Jeremiah holding the mug.

“Thank you, Jeremiah, for bringing back our faith in mankind and getting us back on our way safely. You are the best!”

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