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Willoughby native stuck on highway loaned car by complete stranger to make it home for Christmas

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Posted at 11:06 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 23:21:43-05

MARIETTA, Ohio — Theresa McCluskey is originally from Willoughby but lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and three children, the family was headed back to Cleveland area on Saturday for the holiday when their SUV stopped on I-77 in Marietta.

“We stopped Friday night because of the bad weather, weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get all the way up here with the icy roads so we drove to Marietta fine with no problems on Friday,” said Theresa’s husband Scott. “Then in the morning when we thought we would make it fine, we only made it a mile or two and that’s when we had all these problems.”

Drexel Perry just happened to be driving by on Saturday and noticed the family’s SUV stopped on the side of the road.

“When I passed the car, I looked in my rear-view mirror and you could tell from the steam coming from the engine that they were overheating or having engine problems,” said Perry. “My concern was how cold it was, they can’t run the car or get out of the cold.”

Perry nor Scott could figure out what was wrong with the truck, so Perry offered his spare jeep to this family that he just met, so they could make it to the Cleveland area in time for Christmas.

When Perry was asked why he felt so comfortable to allow a family he just met to drive away with his vehicle, he said, “I don’t know, it’s probably just a gut feeling that you feel about somebody.”

“I asked him if he was Santa and I asked if I could give him a hug, I did, and I got emotional,” said Theresa.

The McCluskey’s left their SUV in Marietta with Perry and he’s taking it to a shop to get fixed on Thursday. The group will then meet back up this Saturday to swap cars as the family heads back to Charlotte.

“We were so stuck that we didn’t have an option, we were going to just roll the dice,” said Scott.

That gut-feeling that Perry felt about the McCluskeys was a mutual feeling apparently, and it created a Christmas miracle.

“For some reason, we felt the same way, just for some reason we felt like we could trust him,” said Theresa. “It was something we will never forget and taught our kids a big lesson about the act of kindness.”

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