Paying It Forward
Meanwhile, a service technician began diagnostics, discovering that the truck had a bad fuel pump, loose exhaust system, and missing taillight. Laraway remembers calling Kelly to let him know that the repairs would cost close to $900. "I felt I could hear his heavy heart through the phone," he says. "He told me he didn't have the money, that he only had $600 to his name and would have to figure out a way to get his truck home. I got off the phone and thought about how I would feel if I'd served my country, found out I had cancer, and couldn't afford to fix my vehicle to get home or get to treatment. I went to talk to Jay. He listened to the story and immediately said, 'Fix the truck, Brian.' "
Jay is Jay Williams, the owner of Main Street Motors, renowned among his employees and his customers for his quiet generosity. His graying curls and goatee make him look like a slimmer version of Santa Claus. What made him decide to help Kelly? "He needed it. I could tell he needed it," says Williams plainly.
Laraway called Kelly again, to tell him that Main Street Motors wanted to fix his truck at no cost. After a brief silence, Kelly responded, "I needed some good news today. I was just told that I have less than a year to live. You guys have made a friend for life."
The staff repaired and cleaned Kelly's truck and the next morning, Laraway drove it to pick up Kelly at the motel where the VA had arranged for him to stay. Before he headed home, Kelly offered his new friends some of the jewelry he makes and sells to supplement his small pension.