This Couple Broke Down After Fleeing Hurricane Irma. Then A Stranger Gave Them An Unusual Letter

Deanna and Benjamin Feist were far away from home after escaping Hurricane Irma. But when they found themselves having car trouble, a stranger did the most incredible thing.

Benjamin and Deanna Feist were out of state while avoiding the devastation of Hurricane Irma in Florida. But as they made their way to a restaurant for lunch, their car suddenly broke down. And before long, they had received a letter from a stranger that left them completely stunned.

Deanna Feist is a 28-year-old hair stylist who lives in Brandon, Florida. She married Benjamin Feist in Plant City, FL, on September 2, 2017. It was only approximately one week later that the state was hit by Hurricane Irma.

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The couple were on their honeymoon at that time. However, they realized that they’d have to prolong their trip to avoid getting caught in the natural disaster. Deanna and Benjamin decided to hide out in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee until the hurricane had passed through their state.

Hurricane Irma was a Category Five hurricane that lasted across two weeks in 2017. It was the most powerful of all storms known to have existed in the open Atlantic area and the worst to hit the United States since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Irma had cataclysmic effects, especially in Florida and the Caribbean.

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The hurricane caused nearly $65 billion in damage and led to a minimum of 134 deaths. Florida was in a state of emergency with airports closed and flights canceled. It is thought that 6.5 million Florida residents were forced to evacuate their homes.

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So the newlyweds were enjoying their extended honeymoon, safe in the Smoky Mountains. But on September 11, 2017, they encountered some trouble of their own as they arrived at a restaurant. “As we were headed to lunch at The Old Mill restaurant, all the lights in our dash came on, from airbags to tire pressure,” Deanna shared on Facebook. “After we shut the car off, it wouldn’t turn on again.”

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Fortunately for the newlyweds, Mo Tamaddoni was in a nearby vehicle and offered to assist them. “We asked the gentleman in the car next to us if we could get a jump, he happily helped us out,” Deanna shared. After the engine was up and running again, she decided to go and put her name down for a table inside the restaurant.

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However, Tamaddoni revealed to Benjamin that he was a manager at The Old Mill and would get them seated without any waiting time. “I started thinking, ‘What is it that I can do to help them?’” he told local news station, WATE. And it turned out that this was only the beginning of his generosity.

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Despite the previous issue with their car, Deanna and Benjamin were able to have a nice lunch. Tamaddoni, who had been working at The Old Mill for 23 years, got them a table and they were served quickly. Then, at the end of their meal, the waitress approached them and handed them an envelope.

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The couple were told that their food and drinks were “on the house” and that the envelope was from the manager. So they opened it up and discovered a voucher for another free meal and $200 cash inside. There was also a handwritten letter that they began to read.

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“You are probably here to escape Hurricane Irma. My brother lives in Tallahassee, FL, I am saddened to see such devastation in this beautiful state,” Tamaddoni had written in the note. “I hope everything will turn out OK for you guys.”

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The manager added, “Please accept my gift to you in case you need to buy a battery for your car. Also, I am enclosing a meal ticket so you that can come back to eat here. Good luck and thanks for visiting my restaurant.”

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The honeymooners couldn’t believe it. “I was absolutely astounded that people like that really exist,” Deanna told WATE. “I see videos on Facebook and I see the stories and you always think, ‘That doesn’t happen, it’s not real life,’ but it happened to us.”

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The hair stylist shared a photo of the gift on her Facebook page “so that the world might see how generous others can still be.” And it wasn’t long before it went viral. Within a few hours, thousands of people had liked the post – and it now has over 69,000 likes.

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People were touched by the manager’s kind actions. “Omg! That is sooo nice! What an angel!” Susannah Giffin commented. Others stated that he was showing true “Southern hospitality.” And Laura Miller Collins added, “Wow. I love it. What a beautiful selfless act. Hopefully his brother is good.”

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Deanna hoped that other social media users would circulate the photo and bring Tamaddoni more business. “Please share this post! I want everyone to see the generosity of this man and support his restaurant!” she wrote. But the manager’s motivation for helping the newlyweds was entirely unselfish.

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In fact, the restaurant manager doesn’t use Facebook and was therefore shocked when he received phone calls about what he had done. “I was trying to remain anonymous because I don’t like publicity. It was amazing to get the kind of response that I got,” he told WATE news. “I’m overwhelmed and emotional about it because I didn’t expect it.”

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Deanna feels that Tamaddoni is a “hero” for helping them out in the way that he did. But he insists it was a simple gesture. “I don’t feel that way at all. The people who are [out] there working, trying to save people, first responders, law enforcement, volunteers are the heroes. I’m nobody, I just saw someone in need and I reached out a hand,” the manager said.

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The day after the couple’s free meal at The Old Mill, Deanna and Benjamin began to make their way home to Florida, where they were relieved to discover that their apartment had survived the hurricane. But they said that they won’t be forgetting what Tamaddoni did anytime soon. And the benevolent man has inspired Deanna to help more strangers in need.

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“This act of selflessness and generosity has touched my heart,” the hair stylist shared on Facebook. “There are still good people out there! I promise I will pay it forward! This man is a God send!”

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