A Saab story with a happy ending

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It started as Saab story.

“Yes, this is a Saab story — with a happy ending,” Centhia Fleming said and smiled.

A happy ending, she said, thanks to a stranger who reached out to help her.

Centhia Fleming’s 2009 Saab, with 109,000 miles, had a problem — something to do with the steering, she was told.

Other mechanics couldn’t pin it down, so she drove it on Thursday from her home in Battle Creek to Fox Saab in Grand Rapids. They told her it wasn’t safe to drive.

“They said it was a transfer case,” Fleming said.

And they gave her a price: more than $800.

The 27-year-old woman had recently lost one of her jobs as a visiting social worker and had spent everything on Christmas for her two young children.

“I just started praying. I said, ‘Lord, I really don’t have the money for this. I don’t know where it’s going to come from, but I know you’ll make a way, you’ll take care of it no matter what it is,’” she said.

Amy Kornoelje, of Grand Rapids, was at the dealership to get her son’s headlight fixed — a $70 bill. She overheard Fleming’s plight.

“I was reading a book at the time and I felt something saying, ‘You need to help this person. You need to help this person. You’ve been here before,’” Kornoelje said.

But she wasn’t sure she should get involved. Then she overheard Fleming, who she didn’t know, making calls to borrow the money, and it moved her. She quietly approached Dewey Anderson, the service consultant.

“I said, ‘I don’t know her story, I don’t know what it is, but we’re all here on this Earth, and I feel like I need to  help her out,’” she said.

The dealership cut the bill almost in half and Kornoelje took care of the rest — $430.

Fleming still couldn’t believe it when the service man pointed out her angel still sitting there, reading her book.

“It couldn’t even have been five minutes later, when he (the service man) came back and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s all been taken care of,’ and I said, ‘Huh, what? What’d you say?’ He said, ‘It’s all been taken care of, you have a secret admirer,’” Fleming recalled.

She sat next to Kornoelje and thanked her.

“I cried, I cried, it was tears of joy of course, but I cried like a little baby,” Fleming said.

“I knew it was the right thing at that point,” Kornoelje said. “I feel like if we all did that a little bit, just really pay attention to what’s going on around us, this place would be a whole lot better and we can make a difference.”

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