Bystanders help Italian tourists finish their Route 66 journey

Two Italian tourists whose rental car was destroyed in an accident were able to finish their Route 66 trip with the help of several bystanders at the crash scene.

Sara Gostoli and Joana Molon of Bolognese, Italy, were on the final leg of exploring Route 66 and the surrounding area. They had pulled off the roadway of Interstate 15 in Mohave County, Arizona, just south of the Utah border, to take a few photographs. After getting back in their car and waiting for an opening to re-enter the interstate, a truck went off the road and slammed into their vehicle.

The two were unhurt because of their seatbelts, but the crash destroyed their rental car and left them without transportation in the desert heat.

We’ll let the St. George News in Utah pick up the story:

The first person to come to the stranded travelers’ aid was a woman from northern Utah training to be a nurse. She witnessed the crash and pulled over to offer medical treatment to the women and the occupants of the pickup truck, who also escaped serious injury.
Among the first responders who arrived on scene minutes later was trooper Tom Callister of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, who said every effort was made to ensure Molon and Gostoli were safe and taken care of at the scene.
Those efforts included help from the nursing student, who remained at the scene to assist the Italian visitors find lodging in St. George for the night. Given their limited grasp of English, she made the phone call and relayed payment information to the hotel.
Crews from the St. George Fire Department used extrication equipment to free the women’s luggage from the trunk of the rental car, which had become wedged shut as a result of damage from the crash.
Another pair of bystanders who had stopped at the scene volunteered to drive the pair to the hotel where they could make arrangements to have the rental car replaced.

Hertz Car Rental provided the women with a replacement vehicle, and they continued their journey to Las Vegas and, finally, the symbolic end of Route 66 at the Santa Monica Pier.

Gostoli wrote an email to thank the bystanders for coming to their aid:

“You probably don’t know but this was our dream journey. Since we were young girls we dreamt about travelling across the United States along Route 66 and visit some of the amazing canyons in Utah and Arizona! And our dream did not break into thousand pieces a week ago thanks to you. We have been sooo lucky to meet you guys in a time of such difficulty. Your altruism and generosity fulfilled our hearts.”

ROUTE Magazine commented on Facebook about the saga:

This is a potentially horrific story that turned out amazing. There are a lot of bad things happening in the world, but this story shows that there is so much more goodness. The people of Route 66 shine again.

(Hat tip to ROUTE Magazine; an image of helping hands by bellmon1 via Flickr)

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