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Pay It Forward: Phoenix man fills neighborhood potholes

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

There's an old neighborhood in east Phoenix that's starting to show the signs of its age.

If you ever drive through, you're likely to hit a pothole or two.

"It's been that way for a long time," said Judy Kirk, who lives in the neighborhood.

Kirk recently started asking the city why they never fix the pesky potholes. After all, there's brand new blacktop just down the road a few yards away.

"Unbeknownst to us, this was designated a private drive decades ago," Kirk said.

The road was becoming an auto shop cash cow.

"Then one day I saw him out in the road filling the potholes. His wife was pushing the wheelbarrow," Kirk said.

She's talking about 86-year-old Ernie Nelson, who also lives in the neighborhood. He bought an asphalt filler himself at Home Depot, then took a shovel and got the job done.

"I did it because no one else would," Nelson said.

Kirk was so appreciative of Nelson's initiative that she emailed CBS 5 News and nominated Nelson for our Pay It Forward segment.

Nelson began tearing up when we surprised him at his home with the $500 reward.

Some day, if the city does take over the street, maybe they'll rename it Ernie Nelson's Way.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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