David Tolley admits he isn't the kind of guy who usually stops to help someone on the side of the road.

But when he saw a broken-down motor home along Interstate 90 west of Rapid City on Tuesday night, and a dad out waving his arms and five children standing helpless nearby, he couldn't help himself.

What happened next — something Tolley calls a "split-minute decision" — is the kind of thing that Tolley now chuckles about, but which has deeply touched the family he helped and given them a story about the good people of South Dakota that they will never forget.

After doing a U-turn, pulling behind the motor home and alighting his safety flashers, Tolley met the family from upstate New York that had already driven nine hours that day and was heading to a campground as darkness fell.

Now they were stuck in the dark with two flat tires and the back end of their motor home jutting into an I-90 travel lane.

With a highway patrolman on the scene, and Rick and Dawn Frosolone waiting for a tow truck, Tolley started chatting with the couple and learned they were planning to hire a taxi to take their family of seven in two shifts to a motel or the campground 40 miles away.

"They were worried about splitting their family up," Tolley recalled.

That's when the idea hit Tolley, himself a father of four, like a bolt from the blue.

"I said, 'I have a better idea, I'll just give you my car,'" Tolley said. "I just told him, 'Here's the keys to my car, man, and when the tow truck gets here, follow the tow truck.'"

The trooper on the scene, and the Frosolones, were stunned.

"He says, 'Just take my car,' and I said, 'What?'" Dawn Frosolone recalled on Thursday. "We were totally dumbfounded."

Tolley, 47, said he was a little unsure about giving away the keys to a used Ford Explorer he bought so recently it still had dealer plates on it. But once he found out Rick Frosolone was a firefighter from New York, and saw his state ID, he felt like it was a good move.

"I assessed the situation and thought that would be the best option, just give him the damn car so they could go," Tolley said.

Tolley told the Frosolones they could drop the car off the next day at Rapid Motors, where Tolley is the lot manager. But first he warned them not to eat or drink or smoke in his new car, since "I'm kind of anal about my cars."

Meanwhile, Tolley called his fiancee and told her to come out to I-90 in Piedmont to give him a ride home.

The next day, after he helped the Frosolones get a bargain on replacement tires, Tolley was handed back his keys, and Rick Frosolone tried to force a reward on him. After Frosolone insisted, Tolley relented and let Frosolone put some gas into Tolley's car.

"He was trying to give me $100, and I was trying not to take it," Tolley said.

Looking back, Tolley said he feels like he did what he hopes someone else might do for him someday if he's ever in a pinch.

But his actions have left a lasting mark on the Frosolones, who are continuing their trek across the nation in the motor home.

"We were just dumbfounded by his generosity; he told my husband to keep the car longer if we needed to," Dawn Frosolone said. "We live in New York, so it wouldn't happen there. You worry more about bad things happening."

Already, Dawn is sharing the story of Tolley's kindness with others she meets during their travels back to upstate New York.

"It's such a wonderful, positive thing he did," she said. "Just really fantastic."

(12) comments

Frankly
Frankly

:)

Flyrite
Flyrite

Awesome example to set for EVERYONE! Great job David, you make me proud! That's the great SD spirit, alive and well!!!

belisarious
belisarious

hey! Tolly, Your all right! Code of the West, all the way!

peppermint1900
peppermint1900

This is much better example of doing Gods' work than the lawyer who was going around making sure no one was selling illegal Sturgis merchandise. God bless you.

Flyrite
Flyrite

Exactly my thoughts peppermint!

Tumbleweed
Tumbleweed

It's good to hear that little boy I knew years ago, the one that put a hole in my bedroom door while babysitting !!, turned out to be such a thoughtful, caring soul. I knew I saw something special in that little guy. :)

New to the area
New to the area

Talk about your good deeds! Sure hope that if he ever needs something, that someone will pay it forward to him.. :-)

DoTell
DoTell

Excellent job Mr. Tolley!

Dakota1
Dakota1

Dakota 1

May you be blessed by the kindness you showed for a family needing assistance~~

Dakota1
Dakota1

May you be blessed by the kindness you showed for others~in their time of need~~

GL
GL

I'd like to know you. I'll stop in at Rapid Motors to say hi...

ScreamingEagle
ScreamingEagle

THANK YOU FOR REPRESENTING SD

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