(ABC News) -- One man is being a hailed as a hero for his random act of kindness for 40 schoolchildren and their chaperones stranded on the side of the interstate in South Carolina due to their broken-down field trip bus.
Chad Hayden, an electrician, was on his way to his next job when he noticed the school bus parked on the side of I-26 with a large group of fifth-graders sitting in the shade. Without hesitation, the good Samaritan drove straight to the nearest gas station to buy Powerade to deliver to each of the kids stuck at the abandoned weigh station between Newberry and Little Mountain.
“I [saw] them broke down at the weigh station and my heart sank and I felt overwhelmed,” Hayden, 36, of Gaston, told ABC News. “When God talks you listen. That’s something I’m a firm believer. He said help and that’s what I did.”
When he delivered the cool refreshments to the overjoyed fifth-graders from A. C. Moore Elementary School in Columbia, he realized he was a few Powerades short. So he went back to the gas station for more.
“When he showed up he said, ‘I saw y’all on the side of the road and I have Powerade for all the kids.’ I went, ‘Wait, what?’” fifth-grade teacher Waylon Gibson, one of the chaperones on the field trip, recalled. “He had three crates of them. What was even more touching for me, he was about two short so he went all the way back to the place and got more. It was really out of his way, very inconvenient for him, but was really appreciated by all of us and the children.”
The kids were overjoyed and thankful for the cool beverage as they waited two hours for the replacement bus to arrive.
“They started screaming and hollering and seeing all those youngins smile, it’s good for the soul,” said a humble Hayden. “They had sleeping bags and everything out there. They were trying to stay in the shade and had all their stuff out. It was a good feeling. It really was.”
The kids were heading home Wednesday from a two-day field trip to Earthshine Discovery Center in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, when their school bus overheated.
“They had to sit there for two hours because it was right in the middle of dismissal time so they had a hard time getting another bus to come get them,” a parent of one of the students, Sam Freeman, explained. “When Ava [her daughter] told me the story I thought, ‘How sweet is this man?’ They weren’t even the single serving Powerades. They were the big, fat servings.”
Gibson said Hayden’s kind gesture “reenergized” him and made a world of difference to his students.
“We were kind of tired and making the best of it,” the teacher said of the frustrating situation. “When his act of kindness happened, it really reenergized me like, ‘Oh my gosh, here’s someone taking a moment to do this.’ I preach all the time to take the time to do something nice for someone else in your day. It really gave everyone a good pick-me-up for the day.”
But for Hayden, “It just honestly felt good to help,” he said.
“It just made me think of my kids sitting there,” he added. “There are still good people out there. Just seeing stuff like that, knowing that people are just driving by not doing anything for these kids, I just couldn’t do it. God wouldn’t let me do it.”
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