When John Price began his journey from Montana to Waco, Texas, to deliver a horse trailer he never thought he’d end up broken down with his truck in the AutoZone parking lot in McPherson.

Price had a water pump that needed a $10 part to fix the problem, but he arrived this past Friday evening at AutoZone too late to get the part in before the weekend.

A four-hour fix morphed into a four-day delay.

“I discovered my truck was throwing more water on the ground that I could put in. I struggled to get to AutoZone and no mechanic had the little part I needed. So I stayed four days at AutoZone waiting for the part to deliver. It took us about two minutes to put the part in but we had to completely disassemble the front end of the truck,” Price aid.

Price couldn’t leave his trailer by itself, as they are costly items to leave alone in any place.

Price said multiple McPherson residents asked if he needed a hotel, but explained that he couldn’t leave his load.

“I couldn’t leave a $150,000 horse trailer alone, you just don’t do that,” Price said.

When word quickly spread that Price was stranded in the AutoZone parking lot, residents came to the rescue.

McPherson residents gave Price food, water, and donated their skills and time to help Price get back on the road. They also offered him a place to keep his ‘horses.’

“They said, ‘Listen, I’ve got a ranch on the south side of town and we’ll take your horses out there and we’ll board them for free.’ But I was just carrying the trailer. I don’t see people like that very often and I’ve been doing this for 45 years and I’ve never met such a community in my entire driving history like this,” Price said.

McPherson residents Ian Hartley, Mark Taylor Jr., Michael Phillips and AutoZone store manager Charles Coyle, helped fix Price’s truck and saved him around $1,500 and eight hours of labor.

“We had seen him out here for a few days and I thought he was just working on his brakes. Then Sheriff Jerry Montagne posted on Facebook that he couldn’t get enough umph to get the bolt broke loose. We didn’t have much else going on today (Tuesday) so we decided to come out here and help him get back on the road and get out of Kansas,” Hartley said.

Luckily Taylor had enough experience fixing cars for others that he knew what to do for Price’s truck.

“I’ve done mechanic stuff my whole life. I do all my own work on my vehicles and everyone else vehicles. If they have a problem, they call me — I just like to help,” Taylor said.

Taylor originally saw Price broke down when he was out for a cruise the other day and asked him if he needed help, but Price said he was just waiting on the small part he needed.

“I figured he would’ve been done by the time we got there but we saw the post on Facebook and he was still here. We all didn’t have much going on so we came out here to lend a free hand,” Taylor said. “I was just glad to help.”

“If I was in a situation like this, I’d hope someone would come out and help me,” Phillips said.

Price said the AutoZone store was more than helpful during his stay in McPherson.

“They did everything to accommodate me. They let my dog come inside and lie in the air conditioning. I finally put her in a kennel the last day, it was just too hot for her,” Price said.

“This gentleman came in on Friday evening and unfortunately hit us right at the cut-off point for ordering parts, so we weren’t able to get the parts in until Tuesday. We let him use any tools that he needed and we let him come inside and cool off. He was a good guy and he cracked a lot of jokes. It was wonderful to see all those guys come out and help him. It was good to help him get back on the road instead of staying here another night,” Coyle said.

For Price, he said McPherson is a gold star on his map after the community helped him out.

“Well done McPherson. You’re such an example for other communities to follow. These people didn’t even want any money for what they did. For people to come and throw a bottle of iced tea and a box of cookies through the window because they were afraid I wouldn’t take it, it’s amazing. This is a good Christian community that gives and wants nothing back. McPherson needs to be applauded for the best town in the USA,” Price said. 

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@McPhersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.