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HELPERS: 'Women have to stick together,' says Thorold driver after car-savvy Samaritan shows up

Joscelyne was on her way to an overnight job when everything went south — but a helping hand emerged
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Michelle Durand, left, and Joscelyne Bennet, right, crossed paths in the heavy fog a few weeks ago. Photo: Ludvig Drevfjall/ThoroldToday

Late night, heavy fog and a flat tire on a deserted road sounds like the opening scene of a horror movie–but for Thorold resident Joscelyne Bennett, it became reality when she felt the rumble in the wheel while driving down Beaverdams Road.

A few weeks back, the Thorold woman, who runs a commercial cleaning business, was losing hope that she would make it to her destination, a Niagara Falls grocery store, in time to perform her overnight cleaning shift. The road conditions were bad; sight limited to around 10 ft, as the tire pressure began to dwindle fast.

"I think I hit a pot hole. I was panicking," Bennett recounts. "I was running out of time, but I was also right in a bend in that heavy fog. It was the worst place to get stuck in."

Fearful that a late-night driver would fail to see her through the thick fog in time, Bennett began feeling the pressure of the situation, and the CAA waiting time offered little comfort.

That was when a car-savy samaritan emerged in the night. Michelle Durand, on her way home after having spent a couple hours stuck in the mud herself, noticed something seemed off with the car by the roadside.

"So I stopped and went to check in on her for a minute or two," recounts Michelle, "and when I got part way home, I decided to go back. It just didn't feel right leaving her there."

Once back at the scene, Michelle began taking a look at the stranded Chevrolet, looking for a solution.

"I've grown up around cars, I like to work on them a bit. I'd always stick my head into the wheel well when my dad was down there working on them and go 'what are you doing?' So I've picked up a few things along the way."

So changing a tire wouldn't be a match for Michelle; but had she not had an eye for cars, things could have gone south.

"It was kind of on a slant, and the ground was soaked, so I was worried it might tip into the ditch if we jacked it up, but I said we could give it a try."

The two women held off on the project, but the comfort of seeing a helping hand was invaluable to Joscelyne.

"It was a bad place to be in, in the middle of the night with everything going on," said Joscelyne. "It was great. Women have to stick together."

By the time CAA showed up, Joscelyne's husband had arrived, and the two were able to go to the grocery store to finish the job, although severely behind schedule.

"My husband helped me clean," said Joscelyne. "And he still made it into work the next day. He really saved me!"

But the impression from having been offered a hand stuck with Joscelyne, who was able to connect with Michelle after she wrote a Facebook post recounting the night went viral, and was happy to be able to give a proper 'Thank you' to the driver who stopped when no one else would.

"I was just happy to be able to offer help in that situation. I just knew what it felt like having a bunch of cars go by when I was stuck myself," notes Michelle.

Do you have a story about a local helper? Email ludvig@thoroldtoday.ca