Generosity leads to memorable experience for local family

NEWTON -?One simple act of kindness can positively change a person’s life forever.

That’s what happened to Fort Dodge’s Scott Kehrberg earlier last month at the Iowa Speedway.

What started off as a normal weekend with his two sons, Mike and Chris, and father, Ron, ended in an interesting story to be told.

“We attended the K&N Pro race on Friday night, and then returned to Altoona to stay at the Motel 6, but it was at that point where things took a strange turn,” Scott recalls. “Rick Ware Racing had their teams staying at the Motel 6 as well.

“Unfortunately for the race team, the motel had sold driver Harrison Rhodes’ room earlier in the day. This young 20-year-old driver and his father had no place to stay since all of Des Moines was booked up. My dad and I normally go down (to Des Moines) and get one motel room, but I picked up two extra tickets for my sons, and got a second extra room so we weren’t all crowded.”

Kehrberg wanted to help accomodate the young racer any way he could.

“After listening to the clerk apologize (for having no rooms left), we decided to give (Harrison and his father) one of our rooms, as long as we weren’t charged for it. The hotel clerk then cancelled our reservation, and Harrison was able to go to bed. Harrison, his dad and crew chief all thanked me over and over again for being so generous.”

Following a chance encounter with Rhodes Friday evening, Scott and his family eventually headed off to the Iowa Speedway the next day. That’s when their selfless decision turned into a weekend to remember.

“We took our time before going (to the race track) and didn’t think we’d ever see them again,” said Scott. “We went down below to the fanwalk we get with our season tickets. That’s when we happened to see the race team coming through the inspection line. I also saw one of the crew members, Gordon, down in the pit area.

“I told him I’d like to get a picture with Harrison in his race suit, but the area was one that fans can’t walk into legally. The Iowa Speedway security guard let us go down (into the restricted area), though, and Gordon asked me for my cell phone number.”

The Kerhbergs were about to get up close and personal with Rhodes.

“My phone rings with a North Carolina number. Gordon spotted us and handed us a lug nut off the No. 23 car. Harrison then walked past all the fans and right to us to thank us again and get a picture taken.”

Scott will never forget the rare opportunity to personally meet an up-and-coming driver like Rhodes.

“So many times (professional athletes) just don’t take the time out to see how important the fans truly are,” Scott said. “I’m going to send a letter to their race team, specifically Gordon, and let them know what that meant to us. Someday when my son is out there, I hope somebody returns a similar act of kindness.”

Both Scott and Harrison have stayed in touch ever since that memorable weekend.

“It’s kind of interesting that Harrison actually contacted me, and I asked where he’s headed next and if he’s coming back to Iowa,” said Scott. “I’ve had season tickets at the Iowa Speedway since the first Nationwide Race was held there (in 2009). I’ve seem some amazing things (at Newton), but ultimately, it’s the fans that keep the sport going.”