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Elderly couple grateful for repo man with heart of gold

ST. LOUIS -- If you need to feel loved, Jim Ford says his is not the job for you.

“You’re going to have people try to run you over with your car,” he said.

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Jim Ford

CBS News

For the last 20 years, he has worked as a repo man outside St. Louis.

But this story isn’t about his most disgruntled customers; It’s about his most grateful.

“He was wonderful. I mean, he’s the kindest man I’ve ever met in all my life,” Pat Kipping said if her repo man.

Pat and her husband Stan live in Red Bud, Illinois. Stan, a Navy vet and retired janitor, is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

They say they were never rich, but they’ve never been this deep in debt, either. The most devastating blow came just a few months back when they realized couldn’t even afford the $100 payments on their ’98 Buick Century.

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Pat and Stan Kipping

CBS News

“When he took the car I said, ‘God, do whatever, whatever you think is best for us.’ You know, God works in mysterious ways,” Pat said.

Well, if he’s working through a repo man that’s the most mysterious of all.

“They’re like America’s grandparents. I saw my grandparents in them,” Jim said. “And I made it a block before I pulled over and called the bank. And I asked them if I could pay off the past due amount.”

Jim returned a few days later. He had the car detailed, the oil changed, even put a frozen turkey in the front.

He also started a GoFundMe campaign, which covered the late payments, and then some.

“We paid off the whole car. You have no car payment anymore,” Jim told Pat and Stan when he returned the car.

“Oh my God,” Pat replied.

“Paid the whole thing off.”  

Finally, he gave them an envelope with the extra money, more than $17,000 extra, to date.

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Pat and Jim embrace

Belleville News-Democrat

Pat was asked how this changed her outlook on life.

“There’s good people out there. He’s our guardian angel,” she said.

There are good people out there -- guardian angels -- and sometimes you find them in the most unlikely places and professions.

Because, although kindness is rarely a job, no matter what you do, it’s always an option.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.