As Told to Joan Bittner Fry by Doug Laumann, owner of the Thrift Store at Blue Ridge Summit
In 2022, a fishing trip to Assateague, Virginia, ended in a great time, catching lots of fish. However, when my son and I left Assateague for home late in the evening, we stopped at a convenience store to fill up with gas and get something to drink for the trip home.
We were on the road 35-40 minutes when a car came toward us on the wrong side of the road. We swerved to miss the car. Our truck went up on two wheels and the camper jackknifed. The camper became unhooked from the truck and rolled, tearing the undercarriage from the back of the truck.
The camper slammed the Jersey wall and veered across the highway, slamming into the side of the truck. Thank God, we made it okay, but we lost everything in the camper and all our fishing gear. But all can be replaced. Fortunately, my wife and grandchildren had left earlier, so they were not involved. The rescue unit and a lot of medics showed up. There was lots of glass and noise.
Out of nowhere, a gentleman showed up with tears in his eyes and asked if we were okay. We assured him that we were all right, but when we asked why he was crying, he said he had lost his grandmother that day and didn’t want to see another death. We said we were sorry about his grandmother’s death. He thanked us for asking.
The state trooper said we needed to pay the crane driver $600 to clean the highway and get the camper off the road. I told the officer I’d have to pay by credit card or check. He replied that they could only take cash.
Again, the gentleman who showed up with tears in his eyes told us not to worry, that everything would be taken care of. He asked for our address. I told him AAA wouldn’t tow the camper home because they were limited to 100 miles. He said he would pay whatever it cost, taking out his wallet. He paid the crane driver the $600 cash and asked for a receipt. The next day, our camper was at our house, thanks to this kind man who just showed up at the accident. The trooper said we could drive the truck since we had lights and a tag, which we attached to the tailgate.
Believe it, there are angels, and this man and his family will always be our angels. We finally got things straightened out from the accident and, this year (2023), made it back to Assateague to fish. We had a really good time and saw the gentleman again and met his family. We will stay friends forever.
The biggest fish story from this year’s trip was that every morning at the campsite, we saw an eagle, but the morning we left, we didn’t see it. When we were crossing the Assateague Bridge, we saw an eagle there. I believe the gentleman was looking over us through eagle’s wings. Hopefully, everything goes well, and we can make it back next year to continue our wonderful friendship.
Doug Laumann and his son, Ryan Laumann, hold up their catches during this year’s fishing trip to Assateague, Virginia.