After A Woman’s Car Broke Down In Front Of A Stranger’s House, A Kind Man Comes Out & Invites Her In For Dinner

​She was bracing for an altercation, or maybe even violence. The kindness she received instead left her in tears.

woman's car broke down i_am_zews / Shutterstock

Breaking down in an unknown area is unnerving no matter what the circumstances. But when you're a person of color in the South, it comes with an entirely different set of concerns. 

TikToker Jo'lee Shine recently found herself in this situation, and it turned out differently than she expected — and in a way that is teaching many people online a lesson about being there for each other in our difficult times.


When Shine's car broke down, a stranger showed her kindness that she was not at all anticipating.

Shine was driving from Atlanta, Georgia back to her home in North Carolina a few hours away when her car overheated and suddenly broke down in front of a stranger's house. As she waited for the tow truck she'd called to arrive, a man suddenly approached her car. 



Being that she is a Black woman in a white town in the Deep South, it's easy to understand why Shine was instantly frightened. "Here comes the man," she fearfully said to her friend Gabe, who she was speaking to on the phone while she waited.


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Shine was terrified that the man would try to hurt her. 

The anxiety in Shine and her friend Gabe's voices is palpable. "Oh my God," Gabe whispered as Shine told him the man was approaching her car, "I'm praying." Before long the elderly white man reached Shine's window, and she apologetically explained her predicament. 

When she tried to prove to him that her car really had broken down by turning the ignition, the man instantly went into dad mode. "Oh don't crank it if it ran hot, baby!" he said sweetly. 

Shine then profusely apologized for being stuck in front of the man's house. "You're fine," he said kindly, before offering to try to fix her car. He then asked her if she knew how long it would be before her tow truck came. 


Thinking he was annoyed, Shine tried to smooth the situation over as best she could. And then it became clear why the elderly man was asking.

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Rather than hassle her, the man invited her in for dinner. 

"Let me tell ya," he said, "we're about to have lunch." Shine's face instantly took on a moment of fear as she braced for the anger she'd been expecting all along. Instead, she got an invitation. "While we wait on him, if we get everything set up, I'll come get ya and we'll have dinner."

Shine immediately burst into tears. "Baby hey," the old man said sweetly. "That was so sweet," Shine said through her tears.


"That's the way we are," the old man said. "We love to take care of people." 

Shine decided to wait in the car, but the man made her a deal. "I'll come get you when we get dinner on the table, and maybe the tow truck will get delayed," he said with a chuckle. 

When he left, Shine revealed just how shockingly differently she expected this interaction to go. "That was so sweet," she said through more tears, "I thought he was gonna hang [me]." 

To those of us who are white, those bracing words may sound like an overreaction. But America's long history of violence toward Black people, our problems with police disproportionately killing Black people during routine actions like traffic stops, and the legacy of so-called "sundown towns" are very real traumas and dangers for people of color. 


Many Black people, like the woman in the video below, say they never feel safe in America — even in their own homes. That visceral fear is what seems to be running through Shine's video, and taken together it makes her interaction with the elderly white man all the more meaningful and instructive.



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Shine said the incident with the elderly man has restored her faith in humanity.

"I wasn’t going to post this," she wrote in her TikTok caption, "but I wanted people to know that [there's] still good people in this world & even in the midst of your storm."

In a follow-up video, she showed how things ended. The old man not only fed her but the tow truck driver too, sending them both home with a big plate of ham and collard greens. 



And before they parted ways, the elderly man asked if he could pray for Shine to have a safe journey home. Before she got back on the road, she couldn't help but shed a few more tears.


"I thought it was over," she said, in reference to how badly the situation could have gone — and has for so many. "But I broke down in front of this man who's so sweet."



Her palpable surprise is a testament to how rare stories like these seem to have become in our increasingly divided society.


Here's hoping we can all let this reminder spur us on to be forces for good in our communities. In our incredibly difficult times, simple human kindness is more powerful than we might expect.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.