COON RAPIDS, Minn. (KMSP) - After desperately driving on a flat this past Tuesday, Mitch Olson said his first stop was a tire shop in Coon Rapids.
“I just walked in and said there's $32 in my pocket, repair the one that is the worst,” said Olson
The staff there couldn't help Olson and sent him across the street to the Highway 10 Minnoco. There, the mechanic, Bob Shaw, quickly realized Olson didn't need a quick fix, he had three tires that were downright dangerous and could blow out anytime.
“The one had steel cords coming out of it,” the others were pretty bald,” said Shaw.
“I just know that they were shot,” said Olson. “With two kids and a wife to support we don't have extra money. “
Between Shaw, the service manager, Jim Lang, and owner Jerry Charmoli, it was noticed that Olson was a Iraq war veteran. Later he shared with us he's between jobs -- suffering from post-traumatic stress and multiple lingering injures.
After finding three matching, slightly used tires, they decided Olson's tires were on the house. They even threw in a car wash, and coffee, charging Olson only the $24 he could afford.
“That's the least we can do for him for what he's done for us, the way look at it,” said Lang.
The gesture was not lost on Olson.
“I broke down and started crying."
Charmoli says in his more than 40 years in business he's always had a soft spot for veterans, hiring several along the way.
“I know what the armed forces does to guys coming back and you gotta take care of them,” says Charmoli. “Not a big deal on my part.”
For Olson three new tires are a very big deal and saying thank you doesn't seem like enough.
“It was amazing. I've never had a company treat me that well in my entire life, just because I was a vet,” Olson said. “It's whatever I can do to help them because they helped me, that's what soldiers do.