A man in Orlando, Fla. gave up the last generator at a Lowe’s store to a woman who he saw crying—not knowing she was emotional because she was worried her father, who is on oxygen, wouldn’t be able to survive Hurricane Irma if the power went out. Screen shot from Facebook
A man in Orlando, Fla. gave up the last generator at a Lowe’s store to a woman who he saw crying—not knowing she was emotional because she was worried her father, who is on oxygen, wouldn’t be able to survive Hurricane Irma if the power went out. Screen shot from Facebook

National

It was the last generator in stock—but he gave it up, and it could save a man’s life

By Jared Gilmour

jgilmour@mcclatchy.com

September 07, 2017 07:26 PM

UPDATED September 08, 2017 10:07 AM

She was getting desperate.

Pam Brekke, of Sanford, Fla., had spent days hunting for a generator. But everywhere she turned, she found nothing but empty shelves, according to WFTV.

And for her, getting a generator in place before powerful Hurricane Irma made landfall wasn’t just a matter of convenience—it was a matter of life or death.

"My father's on oxygen, and I'm worried about this storm," Brekke told WFTV.

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With Irma expected to hit Florida this weekend, likely as a Category 4 storm, time was quickly running out.

Then she thought she’d caught a lucky break: a Lowe’s store 30 miles away in Orlando had gotten a surprise shipment of generators. So she hopped in her car on Thursday, made the journey from her home in Sanford, and got in line.

Much of Florida under hurricane watch; Georgia and Carolinas closely monitoring Irma

The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos are bracing for Hurricane Irma on Thursday. Much of Cuba, the Florida Keys & South Florida are also under a hurricane watch. A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida. It’s increasingly more likely that Irma will directly impact parts of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina later but the exact time is unknown.

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There were 200 generators in stock at 7 a.m., and red-vested Lowe’s workers were unloading them, distributing each one to customer after customer in line. And then the workers got to the very last generator—and it went to the person right in front of Brekke in line.

Had there been one more generator, it would have been hers.

Brekke started crying, thinking about returning home empty-handed to a father who needed oxygen if the power went out.

But then—amid the frantic search for plywood, gas cans and everything else—a random act of kindness.

Without asking a single question, Ramon Santiago walked up to Brekke and handed her a generator.

"She needs the generator," Santiago told WFTV-TV, as Brekke wiped away tears. WFTV’s Nancy Alvarez posted the entire exchange on Facebook.

They hugged, and Brekke explained her father’s health, thanking him for his small act of kindness during such a trying time.

“Everything is okay,” he told her as they embraced.

Then Santiago, having given up the generator to someone who desperately needed it, went back to his shopping.

"I'm very overwhelmed by that man," Brekke said, again fighting back tears. "God will bless that man."