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Giving a lift to a stranger creates an unexpected connection

August 16, 2018 09:47 PM

When a Good Samaritan pulled over on 390, he never knew how that action would create a friendship.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dan Bookhart was driving back from the airport when he saw an older man walking along 390.

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“I just couldn’t understand how people could just pass him by. It was raining, not a lot, but enough to have your wipers going,” shared Bookhart as he drove along the same route. He added, “I just had to. I just had to stop.”

When he pulled over, he realized the man was in his nineties and seemed disoriented.

“He was sitting there talking about being in the Marines. He said he was in the Korean War,” said Bookhart.

But he wasn’t able to share his name or where he was going.

“I had no idea where he wanted to go, I just figured the hospital was the safe place to go,” recalled Bookhart, who started driving the older gentleman to the closest hospital. 

Before he went, Bookhart snapped a picture of the man and posted it on Facebook, asking for the public’s help in identifying the man and finding his family.

Once they made it to the hospital, he explained to a nurse the situation and left his number. “I told her to let me know if no one comes because I would come back and sit with him,” he said. 

He felt an instant connection with the man because he reminded Bookhart of a friend he once had. A friend named Luther, who Bookhart met while volunteering at the Jewish Home of Rochester. 

“I go there to play music for them to get up and dance. We just connected. [Luther] asked me if I could make him a couple CDs,” said Bookhart, who is a DJ by trade.

He often volunteers his services through his business, D&J Music Factory, for events involving veterans and sick children.

“I’m a single father of two boys….one of my son’s cancer is in remission….I just know what it is like,” said Bookhart quietly.

While volunteering, he created a solid friendship with Luther through blues music. Luther was a biker. Bookhart had planned to bring him for a ride before he got too sick to do so.

“He ended up getting sicker and sicker…losing weight. Luther ended up passing away.”

That was two years ago. Two days ago is when Bookhart picked up the unknown man. 

“It was almost like Luther was trying to tell me something. I pick up this guy who looked just like Luther. I didn’t even know his name. I just took him to Strong Hospital because it’s the best place to take him to,” he shared. 

Within hours of bringing him there, his family contacted Bookhart. One message in particular gave Bookhart chills. 

“The last text she sent to me was, ‘oh by the way his name is Luther’ and I’m like….wow. It really touched me.”

Tearing up at the connection, and then getting a picture from the family of this new Luther bending down to kiss his wife in her hospital bed. 

They explained to Bookhart the entire time Luther was trying to get to the hospital Tuesday afternoon to visit his wife who is in the ICU. 

“But he was walking in the wrong direction. It’s crazy the hospital I chose to take him to was the same one. Here he was downstairs and his wife was upstairs which is where he was trying to get to.”

Luther was able to spend time with his bride on what could be her final days all because of the kindness of a stranger.

“I’m so glad I was able to pick him up so he could see his wife…it was like the man I lost, the Luther I lost was telling me something, ‘you gotta pick this guy up. He’s got a sick wife. Pick him up and bring him where he needs to go.’ It was a good ending….a love story in the end,” said Bookhart.

And he doesn’t plan on having that story end. 

“I lost a Luther two years ago. I gained another Luther and I want to be a part of his life,” expressed Bookhart.

He’s been staying in touch with the family, planning to take Luther to war memorials in the area. 

Credits

Stephanie Robusto

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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