Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was on the receiving end of some awesome roadside diplomacy this week.
Powell wrote on Facebook Thursday that a man with a prosthetic leg pulled over to help him change a tire.
Powell, a retired general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he was on his way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for an exam when a tire blew out. He jacked up the car and began removing the “very tight” lug bolts when the man pulled up.
“He grabbed the lug wrench and finished the job as I put the tools away,” Powell, 81, wrote. “Then we both hurriedly headed off to appointments.”
Powell noted that he didn’t get the man’s name, but later learned it was Anthony Maggert when Maggert messaged him. Maggert told the retired general he would never forget helping out, and called him “an inspiration, a leader and statesman.”
Powell responded in kind. “You touched my soul and reminded me about what this country is all about and why it is so great.”
Maggert, 42, from Stafford, Virginia, told HuffPost on Friday that he contracted flesh-eating bacteria as an Army officer on a tour of Afghanistan. The infection led to the amputation of his leg in 2011.
He retired from the military in 2018, but his dedication to service still kicked in when he noticed a man in a tough spot.
“I just saw someone stranded,” Maggert said in a phone interview. “I figured, nobody else is stopping, so I might as well help him. Next thing you know, it’s General Colin Powell.”
The two both had appointments at Walter Reed. “In fact, he was two cars behind me as we went through the gate,” Maggert told NBC’s Washington affiliate.
Maggert told CNN that Powell was his hero growing up.
And perhaps now Powell has a hero in Maggert.