Driving in LA can bring out the worst in us, and sometimes Angelenos on the road can seem anything but angelic.
But there's at least one exception -- Thomas Weller, the "Highway Angel."
Since 1966, Weller has driven around San Diego's highways, assisting those in need of roadside assistance. He carries a card that reads, "You don't owe me a thing. I've been there too. Someone once helped me out just the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do. Don't let the chain of love end with you."
If the card wasn't enough to make him legit, his decked out Inspector Gadget-like car, a classic car decked out with roof lights, a walkie talkie and "Search & Rescue" labels, certainly does the trick.
In this video profile from 2008, Weller shares that he used to go out every other day. But because gas prices have gone up, he now only goes every third day. Although he's clearly pained by the roughly $100 it costs him for two days "cruising," he said, "I'll be doing this until I cant do it physically, mentally or can't afford to do it anymore."
Weller shared that the individuals he helps aren't the only one whose day he makes. "It lifts my spirits," he said. "When I get depressed, I go out on the freeway, and I help one person, and I come back lifted.
This highway angel knows what works for him and doesn't plan to stop doing it. He explained, "Some people go to Disneyland. Some people go on vacations. I go out and play on the highways."
Weller has been interviewed by many local news outlets. CBS' Charles Kuralt first dubbed him the "San Diego Highway Man" in 1996, and in 2008 the Los Angeles Times featured him prominently in the paper.
The video above, uploaded three days ago, was made by photographer and videographer Brent Foster for the LA Times.
UPDATE: Weller told The Huffington Post that there have been some bumps in the road for him and his car, which he lovingly calls "Beulah," over the past couple years. In October 2010, his old rig's engine failed, and he was unable to find a replacement that he could afford.
Then, in late November, KUSI's Michael Turko reached out on Weller's behalf to seek help in repairing the rescue mobile. As a result, in January 2011, the San Diego Auto Museum and Ray Brock of Ray Brock Racing, with the help of a few volunteers, found Beulah an engine and installed it at the museum's restoration facility.
Unfortunately, after enjoying the vehicle for almost a full year, Weller's car was totaled, or, as he put it, "KIA, Killed In Action," while he was out on duty in August 2011. Although Weller says he's having a tough time adjusting to the loss, he's still patrolling the highways, although now in a vehicle that "isn't as nimble, fast, well-equipped or good at stopping."
Click here to assist Weller in his effort to get little Miss Beulah back on the roads.
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