Strangers Gave Poor Mom Bed To Sleep in 19 Years Ago, Now She's on Mission To Find Them

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou had it right: the details will fade away, but the impression will stick.

Details are something that Cambrie Anderson is quite short on. She can’t remember the particular exchange that led up to a windfall for her family, but she very clearly remembers the generosity that was shown to her in a time of great need.

It started almost two decades ago, in 1999. According to WBIR-TV as mentioned on WKRN, the family had decided to go to Disney World — a common destination for those with young kids.

But on their way back, they encountered a rather monumental issue. Their money had evaporated.

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Probably desperate and out of options, they parked at a gas station. There, they met two guardian angels with three of their own kids and an open door.

Anderson can’t remember their names. She can’t remember exactly where they were. But she does have one crucial bit of evidence: a 19-year-old photo of the generous family who welcomed them in.

She also has the power of Facebook, and is using it to try to find out who their good Samaritans were.

“In the summer of 1999, my family (and best friend, Megan) went on a vacation to Florida,” Anderson wrote in her Facebook post. “We ran out of money on the trip home and had nowhere to sleep the night we drove through Tennessee.”

“Somehow, I befriended a family at a gas station and they graciously let us sleep at their house that night (it may have happened differently, but that’s how I remember it). Yes, we slept in the house of a complete stranger.”

“We were traveling back to Indianapolis from Florida (Disney), so I would guess it was off of either 65N or 24W! Other than that, I have no idea what part of TN we were in.”

“There is probably zero chance I will find them, but hopefully social media can help. Here is the family. All I know is they lived somewhere in Tennessee in 1999,” she concluded.

It could have been dangerous, to accept such an offer from strangers. Anderson didn’t know the family or the area, she only knew they were caught between a rock and a hard place and had nowhere to go.

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She posted her message on August 31, along with a photo with the labels “Trip to Florida,” “Strangers in Tennessee,” and “1999.” She’s asked for help spreading the photo in the hopes that someone will recognize the kind strangers who helped them.

Whether or not Anderson is successful in locating these folks, it’s good of her to try to find them and thank them — and it’s nice to know there are still strangers out there who will help you out when you need it rather than take advantage of you.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking