Even a legend can use a little help sometimes.
On Wednesday, retired four-star Army Gen. Colin Powell, 81, experienced a flat tire in the Washington, D.C., area when Anthony Maggert, who has an artificial leg due to an injury suffered in Afghanistan, pulled over to help.
“I’m not really starstruck that much. It was just a situation like, here’s somebody on the side of the road who needs help, why not get out?” Maggert told CBS.
“The closer I got to the vehicle, I saw the face and I said, ‘That has to be Colin Powell,'” Maggert said.
Powell first told the story on his Facebook page.
“Yesterday was a reassuring day for me. I was on my way to Walter Reed Military Hospital for an exam. As I drove along Interstate 495 my left front tire blew out. I am a car guy and knew I could change it but it was cold outside and the lug bolts were very tight. I jacked the car up and got several of the bolts removed when a car suddenly pulled up in front of me,” he posted.
“As the man got out of his car I could see that he had an artificial leg. He said he recognized me and wanted to help me. We chatted and I learned that he lost his leg in Afghanistan when he worked over there as a civilian employee. He grabbed the lug wrench and finished the job as I put the tools away,” Powell posted.
Powell also shared a message from Maggert.
“Gen. Powell, I hope I never forget today because I’ll never forget reading your books. You were always an inspiration, a leader and statesman,” Powell said Maggert wrote. Maggert called him “the giant whose shoulders we stood upon to carry the torch to light the way and now it is tomorrow’s generation that must do the same.”
“Thanks, Anthony. You touched my soul and reminded me about what this country is all about and why it is so great. Let’s stop screaming at each other. Let’s just take care of each other. You made my day,” Powell posted.
Powell’s post drew 25,000 comments, including one from Maggert.
“Dear General Powell, we had a huge outcry of LOVE today. It seemed as if the entire world stopped for a moment to listen to a good news story. I’m glad we shared the moment but I am more grateful that folks recognize that the human spirit of helping is not lost. Today we showed the country that all it takes is slowing down to lend a hand. When you want Chef Maddog Maggert to make you a meal of your choice let me know. I’m not sure when the last time you had good Jamaican food but I’m sure I could take your taste buds to island time,” Maggert wrote.
Maggert said he was glad to see Powell, but did not know it was his idol when he pulled over.
“I just wanted to make sure he was safe. I would’ve done it for anyone,” Maggert said.
Maggert said he enjoyed coming to the rescue.
“You feel great. But it sort of made my day too. I guess you always feel kinda good if somebody is in need and you can reach out and help them out,” he said, according to NBC.
Maggert said Powell’s ability to overcome obstacles inspired him.
“When I was a kid, I thought, wow, it would be cool to be in the military … but I never thought I would do 23 years in the military. I never thought I would re-deploy as an amputee,” he said.
Powell “always talked about doing better than just being mediocre,” Maggert said. “And when I got out of the military this last June, I’ve always had this passion for going to culinary school. So I go to New York City – lower Manhattan – every weekend to culinary school. I’m the very first, that I know of, amputee to go to the Institute of Culinary Education.”
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