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Help from a family friend felt like a miracle for a woman after her father died

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain. "My Unsung Hero" tells the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. And today's story comes from Karen Muller. In January 2020, Karen's father died, and her mother decided to downsize to a retirement home. Every week, Karen would drive two hours from Ohio to Indiana to prepare her parents' old house for sale. The to-do list was long - fixing the shutters, repainting the dining room, scraping mold off the roof. She also had to sort through decades of her parents' belongings.

KAREN MULLER: So we started getting boxes and going through all the items in the house. And we had our trash pile, our let's take this to the retirement apartment, and let's give this away. So they had these German steins. There were encyclopedias. We had these Time Life series on the cosmos. There was a Pac-Man machine, a ping pong table. They had two Christmas trees, old black-and-white photos from my great-aunts. There was a old stamp collection of used stamps.

And the boxes started filling up in the garage higher and higher. They had to be five or six boxes high. And when you opened up that garage door, it was just a wall of boxes. And I just kept thinking, oh, my goodness, what are we going to do? I mean, how am I going to get rid of all these boxes? I live in Ohio. She lives in Indiana. And I don't have any means to transport all this stuff. And then one day, I was driving over there, and I popped open the garage. And it was empty. All the boxes were gone. I literally had tears in my eyes. And this huge weight lifted off of my chest.

And I went in, and I said, oh, my goodness, who took all the boxes? What happened to them? And my mom said, oh, Stan came over. Stan was my mom's best friend's husband. And he had a truck and offered his services. To me, it was just a miracle that somebody had done something. I'm the only one left. And so all of this fell on me. And I was just like, help, and he did. And I didn't ask. I mean, it was just a total surprise. And it just - it was lovely.

SHAPIRO: Karen Muller of Sylvania, Ohio. Stan Quimby, the hero of this story, died about a year ago. Karen's mother, Mary, is 92. And you can find more stories like this on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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