For many Americans, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Oscar-winning 1996 movie “Fargo” put the small city in North Dakota on the map.
But thanks to the quick thinking and generosity of one local police officer, I’d argue that this snowy section of the Roughrider State deserves to be remembered more for its kindness than the quirky crime drama that bears its name.
The story started on Feb. 3, a chilly night that saw wind chill bottoming out at a frigid -28 degrees Fahrenheit. It certainly wasn’t the ideal time to go for a drive.
But that’s exactly where West Fargo, North Dakota, resident Alyssa Gallegos and her family found themselves, and they would soon learn just how cold that temperature could feel.
Without warning, their truck ran out of gas, leaving them stuck on the road.
After 20 minutes of waiting and feeling the mercury drop inside their vehicle, the family members began trying to sort out their options.
“We were debating whether to go back to the apartment or take [a] check to the gas station,” Gallegos told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
That was when West Fargo Police Officer Aaron Ostlund appeared on the scene. Ostlund had been patrolling when he noticed the stopped car and decided to investigate.
Though he could’ve simply left the family to its own devices, the kind officer decided to go the extra mile. First, he drove them to a nearby gas station.
“That was really nice of him,” Gallegos said. “Because he could have just sat there and been like, ‘Okay, well you guys have a good rest of your day.”
Then Ostlund did something amazing: He paid for the gas with his own funds and refused to let Gallegos reimburse him.
He also made sure the family stayed warm as their vehicle got refueled. The crowning touch was when he gave Gallegos’ young son Jayden a bunch of stickers and a ride in his SUV.
The boy “thought it was the coolest thing,” she wrote on her Facebook page. So did the nearly 300 people who shared her post and the more than 1,000 who liked it.
“This is the Blue I support,” one individual wrote. Indeed, according to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, “those who know [Ostlund] said this is nothing out of the ordinary for him.”
Thanks to this kind policeman, the family didn’t have to make a dangerous trek on their own. Instead they were cared for and on their way soon after finding themselves in a tricky situation.
What a good reminder to check on the people around you — you don’t have to be a cop to participate in acts of kindness!
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