Kudos to the Seattle tow truck driver, who only identified himself as James, (and his stepson and daughter-in-law), who stepped up immediately to help this business owner! Here's the story from the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
It was about 3 a.m. on August 8 when Dean Silverstone arrived at Golden Oldies, the music store he's run for decades. The mural on the building's west wall -- one he designed to show five decades in music painted by local graffiti artists -- had a more-than-six-foot hole just below Elvis.
"We found Abba with ZZ Top," Silverstone said of the records destroyed that morning.
About 2:30 a.m., police say an SUV hit a car and lost control on Northeast 45th Street near Second Avenue Northeast. When it plowed into Silverstone's shop, it destroyed more than 3,000 records, 2,000 CDs, hundreds of cassettes and 8-track tapes.
Silverstone said investigators told him the driver was texting before he hit the car and lost control. The driver's SUV came to rest about 25 feet into the store -- at the punk section.
"It was heartbreaking," said Silverstone, who estimates the store -- dubbed "one of the best sources" for finding old records by U.S. News and World Report -- has an inventory of more than 3 million records.
The store reopened after about a week of repairs. But the relatively quick turnaround wouldn't have been possible without help from the community, Silverstone said.
It started within hours of the crash. Silverstone, in an emotional state, had no idea how to repair the hole in his building and asked the cops for advice. The tow truck driver heard his plight.
"I felt really bad for this guy," the driver said Monday. "This was his livelihood and nobody should be in that situation, especially in this economy."
So the tow truck driver, who wanted to be identified by his first name James, called his stepson. He and his wife also came to help.
The driver, who used to work construction, called a buddy who checked out the building, built in 1916. A support beam had been ripped out, but the men determined it wasn't the load bearing part of the wall. They replaced it with a 4-by-4 and put plywood over the massive hole.
The tow truck driver and his stepson -- who stood watch on the store when others went to get supplies -- worked outside, while the driver's daughter-in-law helped Silverstone and co-worker Howard Hooper pick up broken records.
Growing up in the Holly Park neighborhood of Seattle, James said his parents taught him to help people when he had the chance. He said what he and his family did shouldn't bring special attention.
"They went above and beyond the call of duty," Silverstone said. "I really would have been lost without the three of them."
The next day, staff from neighboring Dick's Drive-In brought over burgers and shakes. Another neighbor grabbed his Shop-Vac and joined the cleanup. Other customers helped move tables down from upstairs storage.
"Everybody in the neighborhood came to lend a hand," said Silverstone, a Garfield High and University of Washington graduate. "It really made me feel happy to be in the Wallingford neighborhood."
The 22-year-old driver who allegedly crashed into the building was initially ticketed for unsafe passing. But court records show the citation was later canceled, after the Seattle Police Department asked the Seattle Municipal Court to cancel it. It was unclear why.
A Seattle police spokesman did not have details on why the letter was sent.
Silverstone doesn't have documents showing exactly how much he paid for the records he lost, which is one reason he can't recover the full value of them. But sooner or later, he expects to get a portion of what was lost financially.
"But that won't replace the hole in our hearts and in our spirits," Silverstone said.
What has helped him and Hooper get through it is the kindness from neighbors and customers who have been coming in for years.
Silverstone he wants people to know he's still open, but mostly wants Golden Oldies to be known as a store where four-legged friends are welcome. Next to the door, he has free dog treats for those who stop by.
"The only catch is when a dog comes in, I've got to be introduced," Silverstone said, holding a calendar showing his two black labs, Hector Dos and Eddie. "There's no entry without an introduction."
Casey McNerthney can be reached at 206-448-8220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Casey on Twitter at twitter.com/mcnerthney.