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Editorial: Heartwarming story captivates community

We had a feeling the story would resonate with our readers, but we certainly didn’t expect to see how fast it gained traction.

New Yorkers Larry and Janice Levine were exiting Interstate 95 in Hardeeville recently when they were struck by a large tractor-trailer. They weren’t hurt, but the back of the car had significant damage.

The Levines were heading north, returning from a trip to Florida. They just wanted to get home. They were in an unfamiliar city on an early Tuesday evening, wondering what they were going to do next.

But their concerns were alleviated when Hardeeville-based R&K Repair Services — owned by Richard and Kelly Arzillo — arrived, or as Larry Levine wrote in his ode to the Arzillos: “God sent us angels.”

The Levines were so moved by the service, patience and goodwill of the Arzillos that they wrote a heartfelt 600-word thank-you note that we published last week.

It was a great gesture and one the community quickly absorbed. Within two days the story had nearly 4,000 views on our website, with 53 encouraging comments and 91 Facebook shares.

The story was easily our most viewed last week and among the most read this year.

Reached via cellphone in New York last week — they were back on the road — the Levines, who live in Queens, near Citi Field where the New York Mets play, said they wrote about the experience because they wanted to express their appreciation for the Arzillos: Richard, Kelly, Alex and Lila.

“They are such wonderful people,” Janice Levine said. “We were in the middle of nowhere and they went out of their way to help.”

Larry Levine said he was satisfied with having the car towed, but Kelly offered to drive the Levines to the airport to get a rental car. The Arzillos then helped unload the Levines’ car and transfer the contents into the rental.

By the time everything was settled, it was after 10 p.m.

“This was way beyond what people do,” Larry said. “I just could not get over what these people did, I had to put it in words.”

Larry and Janice were overjoyed to hear about the county’s response to their story.

“I can’t tell you how happy this makes us,” Janice Levine said. “You have wonderful people living in your community.”

We do.

We’re glad to have shared the story and wish Larry and Janice well. Jasper County appreciates their gratitude.

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