Pothole on I-5 flattens tires. This guy changed them for total strangers.

KING 5's Heather Graf reports.

You could call it a bright spot during Monday's storm weather: a Good Samaritan who jumped into action to help drivers stranded on I-5 near Tacoma.

When a pothole opened up on the interstate during heavy rains, Alex MacMillan was one of several drivers that got flat tires.

"I mean, when I pulled over there were 15 cars that I counted," he said.  

He was on his way home from his job as a pipe fitter for Puget Sound Energy.  Alex pulled over to change the tire on his own car.  Then, he decided to stay put on the side of the road, even in the wind and the rain, and help as many other drivers as he could.

"Yeah, I was already wet and cold from being at work and I was used to it by then, so I said, let's do it. Let's make some people's night a little bit better," said MacMillan.  

He said he'd learned earlier that day that November 13 is World Kindness Day, so the timing for an act of kindness seemed fitting.

"I think I changed seven or eight tires," he said.  "There were other drivers trying to give me money, trying to ask if they can give me anything and all I asked them is to help someone else out.  Someone else they come across, give them a hand."

His kindness made quite the impression on driver Kristi Hougland, who was heading to her home in Tacoma when she hit the pothole.

"It was raining heavily; it was windy," she said.  "And all of a sudden there was a huge bang, and I didn't know if I had hit something or what had happened, but I'm looking frantically for a place to pull over because my tire went flat right away."

Hougland hadn't changed a tire in several years and says she was a bit worried about it.  But before she even began the process, MacMillan showed up.

"There was this tall young man standing on the other side of the car by my flat tire, and he said would you like some help, and I was like sure!  I thought he was a tow truck driver at first," said Hougland.

She was even more impressed when she started speaking to MacMillan about the motivation behind his good deed.

"It was really touching.  Just his pure heart of service, nothing else," she said.  "I said I don't have any cash on me, I can't pay you.  He said no, no, no I'm not here for that.  That's not why I'm doing this.  I'm here to help people."

Hougland felt she had to do something to thank MacMillan for his actions.

The next morning, she decided to write to her favorite radio station, hoping for an on-air shout-out to her "tire changing hero."

"I listen to The Wolf in the morning and I know they're really good about calling out people who do great things," she said.  "So I was ecstatic. It made my entire day to hear him get that recognition."

Hougland says 100.7 The Wolf not only shared her letter, she says the radio station also tracked down MacMillan and gave him and his wife tickets to a concert, to say thank you.

"I was in shock," MacMillan said, upon learning what Hougland had done to express her gratitude.  "That's all I needed, to know someone was thankful for what I'd done for them."

KING 5 checked in with WSDOT and Washington State Patrol on the status of that pothole, located near on I-5 southbound near the SR 16 interchange.  

In addition to the help that MacMillan provided on the side of the road, WSP says troopers had to change at least 15 other flat tires before WSDOT crews patched up the pothole on Monday evening.

WSDOT said they filled the pothole as quickly as possible and kept crews on scene throughout the night, to monitor conditions in that area.

© 2017 KING-TV


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