Apr 9, 2024 - Eclipse

On the road in Arkansas: How to be kind

A couple pose next to their minivan topped with kayaks.

John and Wanda Wilson of Lake Wylie, South Carolina, drove 13 hours to camp on a mountain near the center of the path of totality. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios.

Wanda and John Wilson drove from South Carolina to squat in the parking lot of a lookout on Arkansas 7. It was the nearest site John could find with high elevation close to the center of the eclipse's totality.

Driving the news: I drove from Fayetteville to Hot Springs on Saturday, then to Russellville on Sunday, to see how people experienced the solar eclipse.

I stopped for a nap in the parking lot where the Wilsons were and let my car battery run down.

  • When they realized that neither they nor I had jumper cables, John drove to town to buy some. Wanda insisted that I take them on my journey.

Why it matters: Kindness can't be bought. Most parents try to impart it to children, but sometimes it takes a stranger to remind us how important it is that we work together to get through life.

What they're saying: "Who knows?" Wanda told me.

  • "Maybe you're the reason we came here."
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