Thomas Weller: A Chain of Kindness and Selfless Good Deeds

After covering inspirational famous people such as Oprah and Russell Brand, we decided to find motivation in lesser-known heroes. This is why, this weekend, we’re hoping you will get your dose of positivity from the story of Thomas Weller, an American mechanic and nationally recognized Good Samaritan.  

Known to locals as the “San Diego Highwayman”, Weller has been helping thousands of people stuck on the side of the road since 1966. His story begun when, as a teenager, he got stranded in a remote area of Illinois. When a blizzard suddenly struck, he plowed into a snowbank and was unable to move his vehicle. No other cars passed by for over an hour. When conditions got worse, he was convinced he would freeze to death. Fortunately, a truck driver happened along and stopped to check on the stranded vehicle. This good Samaritan used a chain to pull the disabled car back into the roadway. The trucker stood by until the young man could start his car and drive to safety. When Thomas Weller, the grateful teenage driver, asked how he could pay back his benefactor, the trucker answered, “just pass on the favor.”  

 And he did just that! This one act of kindness inspired Thomas Weller to dedicate his life to helping others in need of road assistance. He has rescued thousands of people who were stranded in one way or another. Weller hands them a card that says

“You don’t owe me a thing. I’ve been there too. Someone once helped me out, just the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here’s what you do: don’t let the chain of love end with you.” 

It’s difficult to fathom that, in our day and age people would help us without asking for a financial benefit in return. Not to mention that locals suggested he should start his own road assistance business, so he can actually make a profit. However, for Weller, money is not his motivation. When asked by 10news if he believes in selfless good deeds, he quickly responded: “the most beautiful compensations of this life is that you cannot sincerely help another without helping yourself in the bargain.” 

Steve Hartman featured Weller in one of the weekly episodes of his show “On the Road”. As the camera followed his daily patrol, Weller stopped to assist a stranded motorist only to find that someone else had already helped change a flat tire for a female driver. When Weller, still on camera, thanked the man for stopping to help, the good Samaritan explained, “Someone helped my wife four months ago when she was stranded on this very freeway, and when she got home, she handed me a card that said, ‘Pass on the Favor.’ That’s what I’m doing today.” In the final scene of the show, Hartman asked why Weller had continued with his roadside crusade into his retirement years. “Well,” he answered, “you really help yourself when you help others.” 

In 2017, Weller suffered a stroke, causing partial paralysis to his left side. “I’m done, as the San Diego Highwayman,” he confessed. “I can’t in good conscience put others at risk by being at less than full capacity on the road.” While no longer patrolling the main arteries, he has vowed never to pass by a motorist in need of help. 

Although Thomas Weller is no longer dedicating his full time to helping others, he hopes his impact on the people he has helped will live forever in an endless chain of good deeds.  

His story also shows to us that you can do in your life whatever you feel is right for you to do, even if it is not that usual and main-stream. 

We also hope his story inspired you to do a small act of kindness today and lend a helping hand to those in need. You do not need to be Thomas Weller, you do not need to go and look for any highway now. You can be yourself and choose what an act of kindness means to you and then pass it on. 

If you’re looking for more inspiration check out our resources here! 

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