- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Everything became a whirlwind after Bronett Terrell got the call from her nephew.

Terrell’s identical twin sister, Jenette Boldin, had died. No, she hadn’t died. She was on life support. Terrell had misunderstood. Things were moving so fast.

Terrell needed to leave work. She needed to get to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She needed to get to her car. Where did she park her car?

It was June 22 and driving along South McDonough Street at that moment was city parking attendant Linda Belser. Belser saw a woman pace toward a car on the side of the street and slowed to talk to her.

Is that your car?

“No, that’s not my car,” Terrell answered realizing she had walked to the wrong vehicle.

Where’s your car?

Terrell looked and showed her.

You didn’t put any money in the meter.

At that point, Belser had a choice to make: Write a ticket or help a visibly upset stranger.

“I told her she didn’t have to worry about the meter on that particular day,” Belser said.

Instead Belser pulled over and asked Terrell to open her car door. Then Belser got in the car with her.

“We sat in my car. She would not allow me to drive my car, and now that I think back, I thank God, because I don’t know where I would have been at that time,” Terrell said. “She sat in my car and offered me words of encouragement. I began to tell her about what was going on and the phone call I just had. She put her job aside. We always look at that as being inhuman, but for once I saw that in a different light. She talked to me. She offered to drive me wherever I needed to go, call whoever I needed to call. She kept saying, ‘You can’t go like this. You can’t.’ Looking back I had no control of that situation. I thought I could get in my car and drive to Florida as fast as I could.”

Belser told Terrell about tribulations she’s faced. Together the two found peace.

“(I told her) just the things I’ve been through in my life unexpectedly,” Belser said. “Even though she had received that information, I was telling her that God has plans for everything and her rushing out in a panic, she had other people depending on her. No telling how her situation would have turned out.”

After Belser calmed Terrell down, Terrell decided to finish her day of work. She drove to Florida and was able to see her sister alive one last time before she passed away.

“She was sick, but she had taken a fall,” she said. “When I got there, she was on the ventilator. She lived until I got there. She knew I was there.”

Terrell credits that moment to the kindness of a stranger.

“Had she not been there, I don’t know what would have happened to me that day,” she said.

After the death of her twin, Terrell called Mayor Todd Strange to tell him about Belser’s act of empathy. On Tuesday night, the two reunited at City Hall where Belser was honored for the job she didn’t do.

“Oftentimes we don’t take the time to help people, because of our jobs or responsibilities,” Terrell said. “Looking back, I just thank God she was willing to put all that aside to help me. She told me, ‘Don’t worry about your car today. I just need you to be OK.’”

As thanks, Terrell gave Belser a bouquet of flowers and a card. Strange gave her a commendation from the city. Those in attendance showered her with applause.

For Belser, a meter patrol who is often greeted less than cordially by those she meets in the average work day, the gratitude brought her to tears.

“It means a lot,” Belser said. “We do a thoughtless job a lot of times, and people really think we’re not human, but we are. We have hearts and we have feelings. I put my job aside on that particular day, because I saw how upset Ms. Terrell was, and I gave her a free parking pass for that day.”

___

Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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