Waterville Gives Back, Helps Stranded Missouri Man Complete His Journey

Published: Aug. 29, 2017 at 7:30 PM EDT
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A viral Facebook post has helped a Missouri man get back on his feet.

After Keith Smith's wife died unexpectedly last year, he made it his mission to spread her ashes along the Maine coast, a place she always wanted to visit.

But after arriving in Central Maine, his vehicle broke down, stranding him far from home.

That's when the Waterville community stepped in.

"One of the dates that we always talked about doing was the lighthouses. We talked about doing that together. So we did."

Keith Smith of Missouri is on a mission, bringing his wife to some of Maine's most famous lighthouses.

"Without her, I've pretty much been a little lost."

His wife Kay died suddenly last year. So with the clothes on his back and his dog by his side, Smith traveled to Maine in her honor.

But a bump in the road left him stranded in Central Maine with two flat tires and no money.

"Well I was right here actually. I parked in the same spot, I put the sign here on my windshield wiper."

"It was in the parking lot here at Walmart that a woman spotted Keith Smith and his sign, posted his story on Facebook, and then it caught the attention of a mechanic downtown."

"I woke up this morning to that on my phone. So I'm like, well I'll leave the house a little bit early, scope it out and see if he's still there."

Devon McEwen of McEwen's Auto made the trip to Walmart to meet Keith.

"I just showed him my phone and showed him what one little post did for him. Said I plan on putting tires on it and do whatever else I can."

And just like that, a stranger becomes a part of the community.

"My Mom found out, brought him a blanket and pillow, paper towels, soap, toothpaste."

"Help goes a long ways."

"We charged the battery up, did an oil change to make sure everything is 100% so he can complete his journey. That's the main thing. I want to see him complete his journey, for not just him, but his wife that's looking down on him."

"It's a little thing compared to what he's done to my faith in people."

"It's important to help each other. We're all in this together."

"Biggest thing is just to treat people the way you would want to be treated."

"So if I was stranded, I would want someone to help me."

"And to have my kids just stand in and help somebody that we don't know, and now we have a friend for life."

"Something my wife and I learned from each other is enjoy the bad times, too. Even though things are tough, don't let situations determine how you feel, because you can still be happy, you can still be positive."

While McEwen's Auto did the labor, several local businesses in the area pitched in, too, lending parts, even money.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, Keith Smith can finally make his way home.

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