(WSVN) - A South Florida man suffering from cancer was left stranded on a dangerous road, but thanks to some unexpected highway help, he is back behind the wheel. 7’s Karen Hensel has tonight’s 7 Spotlight.
It may have a few dents and dings, but Bill Yakel loves his car.
Bill Yakel: “I call it the Hope Mobile.”
Bill needs reliable transportation because every day he has to drive to the hospital for cancer treatment.
Bill Yakel: “I’d like to show you my power port. I get intense doses of lots of chemotherapy and radiation.”
Bill says he can’t skip a session, but back in December, while driving to one of his appointments, his car broke down.
Bill Yakel: “I really – I didn’t know what to do, and then I realized, when I couldn’t go in reverse, I knew it was a transmission problem. I knew I needed to find someone quickly. The last thing I needed was to have car problems.”
Bill ended up stuck on the side of Interstate 95, but getting help around Christmastime wasn’t easy.
Bill Yakel: “I started frantically calling around to different places. Nobody picked up, and that day, last thing I need is stress, doctor said.
With no sign of help in sight, Bill called one last body shop.
Finally, someone picked up.
Employee: “AAction transmissions, can I help you?”
Al Petrassi, owner: “We got a phone call. Guy was stuck on 95 with his car. I sent my wrecker out there to get it, and they picked it up.”
AAction Transmissions owner Al Petrassi says his team was simply doing their job by answering Bill’s call.
But according to Bill, they did a lot more.
Bill Yakel: “The first thing that man asked me, he said, ‘Where were you headed?’ I said, ‘My chemo treatment, my cancer treatment.'”
And that’s where they went. The tow truck driver dropped Bill off at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, then brought his car to AAction Transmissions.
Al Petrassi: When I brought the car back, he needed a transmission; it didn’t go forward or reverse. And when he came here, back from this session he had, I could see he was down and out.
Bill says what Al did next brought him to tears.
Bill Yakel: “He took the contract and tore it in half, and he said, ‘You don’t owe me nothing.’ He said, ‘It’s my pleasure to help you.'”
Work that would have cost thousands of dollars was done free of charge.
Al Petrassi: “I had my aunt pass away of cancer, and that kind of got to me, so, you know, it was Christmas, and I just want to do the right thing. That’s all.”
Al has worked for years to help those affected by cancer.
AAction Transmissions has sponsored the Jeff Conine Poker Classic, which raised more than $100,000 for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Al Petrassi: “I like doing things like that. I mean, i think it’s the right thing to do.”
And Bill couldn’t be more thankful.
Bill Yakel: “He saved my life, because I would be dead if he didn’t do that, because I couldn’t get to my appointment. You know, I owe him more than I can ever really pay.”
Al Petrassi: “I’m glad you’re happy. It was a pleasure, Billy.”
And what started off as a normal day for two strangers has turned into the start of a meaningful friendship.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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