Good samaritan helps mother after car fire

- A mother and her children, who were stranded on the Selmon Expressway after their vehicle caught fire, were saved by a good samaritan early Monday morning.

Alisha Granlee was driving home to Brandon around midnight Monday when her SUV caught fire.

Her three children: ages 1, 2 and 7. And her niece, age 10, were riding in the back seat.

"I heard something pop. Smoke, white smoke, came out the car," said Granlee. "I grabbed my purse and the diaper bag, grabbed the children and walked away from the car."

Within minutes, the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

Granlee bought the SUV two weeks prior at a car auction.

As she stood alongside the highway, several vehicles passed by, gawking at the flames.

No one stopped to help the family.

"My niece started screaming and yelling, and then my youngest child started crying. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm not going to get any help. I might as well start walking," said Granlee.

As the mother and four children began making the trek down the highway, a driver, who was recording the fire, pulled alongside and offered them a ride.                                                                                                                            

"This nice lady drives up, and she's like, "Come on, Mommy. Get the kids in the car," said Granlee.

The good samaritan, Latoya Carter, gave the family a ride home to their Brandon apartment.

"I'm a mom. I'm a single parent of three, and I can only imagine being in that same situation,having my only vehicle taken away from me for whatever reason and not being able to go to work, take care of my kids or go grocery shopping," said Carter.

Carter's kind gesture did not end with a ride.

She posted her cell phone video of the car fire to Facebook and pleaded with friends to help Granlee in any way possible.

Within hours, Granlee received a small donation from one person and several others offered to give her a new car, free of charge.

"I never knew there were good people out there like that to help me, and I appreciate it so much," said Granlee. "I am normally the person with the big heart. Latoya Carter has a very special place in my heart. She's going to stay there, because she helped me and my children," Granlee added.

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