'Southern hospitality' drives car repair shop owner
At noon on Aug. 14, Helen Mattox, of Wrightsville, had just turned out of the Red Lion Dollar General when a woman in a gray or brown truck struck the front of her car with her bumper.
Mattox and the woman pulled over and got out of their cars, but apparently the woman had a change of heart.
"She jumped in (her car) and took off," Mattox said.
Mattox said she didn't have time to see the license plate, and there were no cameras nearby to catch the driver.
York Area Regional Police are investigating the crash but have not yet located the driver, Mattox said. In the meantime, Mattox's car — a 1992 Cadillac — needed to be fixed, and Mattox's insurance wouldn't cover the repair costs.
That's when Dennis Tyndall, who runs 1st Avenue Collision in Red Lion, stepped in and offered to repair her vehicle, free of charge, after seeing a post about the incident on social media.
Facebook: Tyndall had found out about the crash through Facebook. The post originated from Mattox's granddaughter, former York Dispatch managing editor and reporter Christina Kauffman.
Shortly after the collision, Kauffman went to Facebook and posted about the incident. In just a few days, her grandmother's story had been shared nearly 1,000 times.
“I decided to do it just because I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to gather any evidence,” Kauffman said.
After posting it, the story took on a "life of its own," she said.
“I think that most people don’t enjoy the thought of someone hitting their grandmother’s vehicle and taking off,” she said.
After Tyndall saw the post, he reached out to Kauffman and scheduled the repairs. Mattox said the car should be ready in a week.
Helping out: While Tyndall's act might seem like something out of the ordinary for a business, he said helping out is something he usually does.
"It's just a little southern hospitality," he said.
He said he grew up in South Carolina, and helping out is something he was raised to do. Tyndall added that many times if someone comes to his shop and requires more work than they initially came in for, and they are having a hard time paying for it, he will help them out. Mattox's Cadillac was no different.
“I saw it on Facebook, I just figured that’s just an old Cadillac, I can get parts for that pretty fast,” he said.
Tyndall said he doesn't have a lot of money to give away, so to give back he shares his talent for fixing things when he can. He said since the business is his own, and he doesn't have much overhead, he had some spare time to give.
"It gives me a chance to help people, give back," he said.
Mattox said Tyndall's hospitality was unexpected.
"I thought it was awesome, I was shocked half to death," she said. "It was a pleasant shock.”
“I’m glad that something good came out of it,” Tyndall said.
Mattox described the driver of the vehicle as having a slender build, about 5-foot-6, with blonde hair in a ponytail. She appeared to be in her late 20s. Anyone with information regarding the incident may call York Area Regional Police at 717-741-1259.
For those interested in 1st Avenue Collision, log on to their Facebook page.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.