State trooper buys new tires, lunch, fills gas tank for family stranded for hours


JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) — Troopers respond to accidents, breakdowns, and even change a tire from time to time, but one trooper’s act of kindness has changed one family’s whole perspective on law enforcement.

It’s rare to see smiles when a family of six spends hours stuck on the side of the road, but, as Master Trooper Colby Pridgen puts it, “Sometimes things are meant to be.”

Monica Hines and her family were on the way from their home in Jacksonville, N.C. to Duke for a neurology appointment. Monica suffers from a painful neurological condition and needs surgery, so the drive is a familiar one, but this time they didn’t make it to Duke.

“The car started just going sideways. We pulled over and the tire was busted,” Hines recalled. They were in Johnston county.

For nearly five hours the family remained stranded, until Trooper Pridgen spotted them and helped find a tire, but there was a problem.’The prices that they were giving them, they didn’t didn’t have it,” he recalled.

Pridgen bought the tire. It came as a surprise to Monica who says she was worried at first when the trooper approached. “That man got a good heart, you can tell,” she said.

“When I got the tire off, I started looking at all the other tires and they were in worse shape than the one I took off,” said Pridgen.

He bought three more tires, lunch for the kids, and a tank of gas to get the family home safely. “If I just put one tire on it and got them on the road, got them on the way, I’d have worried myself sick all night,” he said.

For Trooper Pridgen, the day ended with a good night’s sleep. “It’s about doing the right thing,” he said.

It left Hines with a new perspective on law enforcement. She says she not only appreciates the tires, but the conversation they shared. “I thanked him for showing me that there are still nice people good people in those uniforms out there,” she said.

Pridgen is grateful for the friendship that’s come of this. “Some people just need to see a little bit of light sometimes,” he said.

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