Stranger offers power wheelchair to Raleigh woman and son with disabilities in random act of kindness at Cracker Barrel

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For a Raleigh woman and her son, a random stop at an I-40 Cracker Barrel led to more than just a good meal. It led to a stunning act of kindness from a perfect stranger.

"This stranger has blessed our family," Susan Scates said.

She was driving on I-40 last month with her son Travis on her way to Oklahoma.

It wasn't a pleasure trip. Susan had received word that her mother in Duncan, Oklahoma, was dying and that Susan needed to come. She had taken along 19-year-old Travis, who has physical and intellectual disabilities, and who needs constant care.

"That was a hard day for me," she told ABC11.

But then something amazing happened.

Susan and Travis pulled off the interstate for a bite to eat at a Cracker Barrel near Nashville, Tenn. when a stranger spotted Travis in his wheelchair maneuvering in the store.

"How does your son like his wheelchair?" the man asked Susan.

"Well.... we don't love it," she replied about the troublesome manual chair.

"Would you like a power chair for him?" the stranger asked.

Susan told him they were planning to get one eventually.

"And he said, 'No, I mean would you like a power chair for him -- I have a brand new one and I would like to give it to him.'"

Susan was stunned. She hadn't seen this man before in the restaurant and had had no previous interaction with him.

It turns out, the power chair was originally bought for the stranger's father-in-law who had a brain injury. But because of the extent of his injury, he had never been able to master it.

"It's just sitting in my garage," the stranger told Susan, "and I would love to give it to you."

And he did. This past weekend, Susan and her husband, Craig, returned to Tennessee to pick up the chair, worth several thousand dollars, and bring it to its new home. And Travis, she said, couldn't be happier.

"He's thrilled! He has taken to it so well. Every morning he wakes up and he says, 'Can I get in my big chair? Can I drive it? Can I stay in it all day long?'"

The stranger, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Susan his faith motivated him to donate the chair.

"My wife and I are Christians," he said. "God told me to walk over to you and donate the chair. I was just being obedient."

And coming at the time it did -- with Susan's mom in her final hours -- made it all the more meaningful.

"I had been crying the previous 500 miles over my mom's impending death," she says, "and when he offered (that chair) to me, it's like God spoke to me and said, 'I see you.' And He's personal and He cares. At that point, that was the encouragement I needed -- that God was with me and for me, and for Travis."
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