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Pay It Forward: Strangers save stranded elderly couple

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

CBS 5 News' Pay It Forward recipients over the years have gone to great lengths to help their neighbors or even complete strangers. Sometimes even the simplest favor can mean a lot or maybe even save lives.

In Arizona, when it's 110 degrees, there really is no good place to break down on the side of the road.

That's what happened to Kathy Alexander, her ex-husband Gene Alexander and her little dog, BB, a couple weeks ago. They had a blow-out tire just south of Riggs Road on I-10.

"I was hanging on for dear life because I thought we were going to head to the shoulder and roll," Alexander said.

Luckily, that didn't happen. Eighty-year-old Gene Alexander successfully maneuvered to the shoulder but the nearest help from their family members was more than an hour away.

"I was worried a lot. We're two old people," Kathy Alexander said.

"They were both so upset and frazzled that I was getting emotional," Kathy Alexander's daughter, Jennifer Rodgers said.

The pair both have health issues that combined with the desert heat can make a simple breakdown a matter of life and death. To make matters worse, car after car on I-10 would see them and drive by.

"I actually turned around and headed home to get water and wet towels and by the time I started to hit the road, that's when she called and said these gentlemen had come out of nowhere," Rodgers said.

"A higher power brought them to our aid. I believe that," Kathy Alexander said.

About a half a mile up the interstate, Kathy Alexander noticed a truck and trailer were slowly backing up on the shoulder heading her way. Four men from Horton Plumbing in Glendale had been on their way to a job but when they saw the stranded couple they knew their job would have to wait.

Alexander's daughter didn't want that random act of kindness to go unnoticed so she arranged to thank them face to face.

"As a token of my gratitude and my appreciation for taking care of my only, my one and only mother, I'd like to present you guys with $500, as a way of paying it forward," Rodgers said as she presented the cash to Donavan McField and Reggie Horton of Horton Plumbing Company.

"I look at it this way, if that was my mom or dad, I would want someone to stop and help them," McField said.

"People are worth looking out for and taking care of today and there are good people out there," Horton said.

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