FOX28's Faran Fronczak thanks the people that helped her out - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

FOX28's Faran Fronczak thanks the people that helped her out of the snow


Driving into work this morning was just like any typical snow storm I've driven through since I moved to Michiana. Snow was falling down at a rapid rate, the roads were slick, and the plows were everywhere. So I knew when driving on the Bypass, 30 miles an hour was about the speed to go.

As I saw the exit to get to SR 19, I noticed it was covered in snow, hadn't been plowed yet. But it seemed drivable... it wasn't! Turning on my turn signal, I made my way up the exit when something that has never happened to me before happened. My front tires hit a mound of snow, and my car completely spun around and down into a ditch.

I've been covering plenty of Michiana weather stories since I walked through the doors at FOX28, and some would dub me the "ride along reporter". I've gotten behind the wheel of a snow plow, followed a tow truck driver pulling people out of the snow, and test drove a BMW on black ice. So you would think I knew exactly how to handle a situation like this... no! Never in a million years did I think I would be the news story!

First things first, I turned on my hazards and reached for the door to get out and see if anything was damaged. Well, the door wouldn't open. So I was literally STUCK! I popped my trunk and had to make my way out through the back passenger door. As I stepped out and looked at what Mother Nature bestowed upon me, I saw 3/4 of my car was in snow. The back-right tire was the only tire on solid ground! So I grabbed my shovel that was in my trunk and started shoveling. In the news, when we do anything along the side of a major toll road or highway, we have safety vests we're required to wear for people to see us. Well, I wasn't in a news vehicle (thank goodness!) and had no safety vest. So I knew having to shovel unprotected was dangerous.

To my surprise, someone pulled up right behind my car and put their hazards on. Out stepped Dale Christopher who first asked me if I was okay, and then said he had a strap and he could probably get me out. Suddenly, 2 other cars stopped to make sure everything was okay. Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of these two good Samaritans, but the one young man insisted on giving the shovel to him and sit in my car to stay warm. The other young lady stood by and helped push my car when we tried to pull it out of the snow bank.

While we were waiting for Dale to hook up the car, I couldn't help but ask the two Samaritans why they stopped. The young lady said, "It's Indiana! We're all in this together; and I figure one day this could be me. I'd want someone to stop." The young man said, "It's human nature to help those in need. I couldn't just leave you on the side of the road!"

Unfortunately, Dale's strap wasn't able to pull my little Toyota Camry out, and the process of hooking up a strap in the first place was a challenge because everything underneath the car was plastic! That's when Bob Henke pulled up. He stepped out of his huge white pickup truck, and the 6' 5" Samaritan walked to his trunk and grabbed a long chain, that Dale hitched to my car. Bob told me to put the car in reverse and, "Give it just a little bit of gas." Dale, to my surprise, stood in the middle of the bypass and directed traffic.

And then, it was like the angels lifted my car out of the snow bank, and it could drive again! I thanked Dale and Bob repeatedly, and I asked them why they stopped to help me. Dale said, "In these conditions, things could get very dangerous very quickly. If I know I can help someone avoid a situation like that, I will." And Bob, "If I know I can pull someone out of this godforsaken snow, I will! I have the tools and the man power. I just hope that the people I help go on to do the same."

How could this have happened to me? Not the "car getting stuck" part, but finding FOUR people at 9:00AM who were so willing to help a total stranger. A BIG thank you to these four individuals who helped me in a desperate time of need. In the news business, you tend to see a lot of the bad stuff - murders, shootings, homicides, burglaries, kidnappings.  These last couple of weeks, Michiana and myself have seen a lot of those national stories happening here. So today, it was nice to see a good one.  I never excepted to BE the story, but it was an uplifting experience to see good people stopping to help for the sake of being just a friendly hand.

Do you have someone to thank?  Has a stranger stepped in to help you out during this rough winter?  Take a moment to post something below.

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