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LETTER: Ranch's 'true hero' assists lost teenager

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  • | 4:00 a.m. July 22, 2009
  • East County
  • Opinion
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Our exchange student from Venezuela, Maria Juana, who was with us 30 years ago, is here for a visit with her family; the first time for the family.

She wanted to show them a supermarket, so they went to Publix, Fresh Market and Sam’s Club. When they returned, 17-year-old Paolo decided to take a quick spin on his skateboard before lunch.

We started to get concerned after an hour; he had only arrived the night before, and he doesn’t speak a lot of English. After two hours, we started to look for him in our cars with no success.

Finally the call came, after 4 p.m. — he was at the pro shop at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club. I said to keep him there, and my husband went to get him.

Some wonderful man, known to us only as Joe, picked Paolo up about an hour earlier and drove him all around, looking for something familiar.

Finally in desperation Joe took him to the club. Poor Paolo must have gone more than 10 miles on his skateboard before Joe gave him a ride. He was exhausted, thirsty and hungry. The club gave him water while he waited for us.

Joe is a true hero. Not only did he pick up a stranger, but also he patiently tried everything he could think of to get him home. He left not knowing the outcome of his good deed, and we have no way to reach him to thank him. 

It is heartwarming to know that there are people who will go way beyond the necessary or comfortable to help a complete stranger and then not stay around for a thank you.

We are grateful.

Gretchen Frueh
Lakewood Ranch



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