I want you to meet Jack Scott, Tony Monroe and James Fox. What they did the other day does not rank among the great acts of heroism. And some might say what they did is not newsworthy. Human kindness, though, is always big, no matter how small an act.
There I was Tuesday afternoon in the thick of 5:30 p.m. traffic on the interstate heading south into downtown Baton Rouge. I was, at that point, in the traffic scrum where it’s best to listen to talk radio and focus on the road.
As I came around a bend, I could see that cars had come to a halt in my lane. If it’s Baton Rouge, there is surely a fender bender somewhere on the interstate.
Just then, I could see what had happened. A car had stopped, and it was halfway in the driving lane and halfway in a neutral divide to an off-ramp. Of course no one was going to stop for him. “Tough luck, buddy” I thought, because I was going to drive past him, too.
As I edged closer, I could see a small pickup truck pull safely ahead of him in the neutral area. Out popped three young guys in their work jumpsuits. Wait, what was I seeing?
They all trotted toward the troubled car. At first, I was just stunned, then I began to think, “What a great deed.”
About a minute later, my car had made it up to the three guys in an Acuren Inspections truck on the neutral area. I parked just ahead of the truck because I wanted to talk to them and possibly do a column about their good deed.
Honestly, when I got out of my car and saw the other vehicles now flying by me, I began to think this might not have been a good idea. How could I explain being hit by a car in this instance?
Did you know that the elevated part of the interstate vibrates something awful?
The young men pushed the car out of trouble and came running back to their truck, only to be confronted by a strange dude with a pen and notepad. I wonder what they were thinking when they saw me.
I quickly introduced myself and said I was proud to see what they had done — and that I wanted to write about it. They seemed befuddled at first but agreed.
They all said what they had done just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Jack Scott, a former New Orleans police officer, said his decision “was that police mentality in me. … You want to help people. … It is something I believe everyone ought to be willing to do for someone.”
For Tony Monroe, it was his first time playing the good Samaritan on a highway.
“I don’t think we thought about it when we decided to do it,” he said. Reflecting on their actions, Monroe said, “Maybe we will get a blessing for this.”
Little did he know, but Monroe would get his blessing a few minutes later.
James Fox wondered why I was raising such a fuss about what they had done. “I don’t think this is something you should receive praise for. … You see somebody that needs help and try to help them,” he said.
About the driver, they said he seemed thankful, but they didn’t stay long to talk to him. They just knew he was in a safer place, and they had to get home. Just as they were about to take off, a Department of Transportation and Development truck, lights flashing, pulled up to the man’s car.
Now, about Monroe’s blessing. A minute or two after they pulled off, Monroe discovered his wallet was missing. “We had to get off the interstate and come back,” he said later. When they got back to the site, he found his wallet on the pavement not far from the still-parked car.
Just thought you ought to know about the kindness of Jack Scott, Tony Monroe and James Fox.
Edward Pratt, a former Advocate editor, is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University.