The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 13, 2012

Random acts of kindness for York woman

Erin James
York Dispatch

YORK — Her 4-month-old daughter in her arms, Lacie McDaniel had just returned home from dropping her fiancé off at work.

It was about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday when the 21-year-old mom turned the doorknob. Next on the day's agenda was to let her two dogs, Miller and Gabanna, outside to do their business.

Apparently, one of the young pit bulls couldn't wait any longer.

Gabanna "just like darted out the door and ran off," McDaniel said.

With a baby, McDaniel couldn't run after her dog. She hurried to the car instead.

Right about that time, Wyatt McGuire and his dog were on their way to McGuire's pooch-friendly York City office, where he is the co-founder and CEO of a software development firm, Idea Tree Inc.

They were driving along Roosevelt Avenue when brakes squealed on the road ahead.

"And then I just see this dog go tumbling. And I think, 'Oh no,' right away," McGuire said.

McGuire put his car in park, grabbed a leash from the backseat and went to help another driver move the dog out of danger. Someone called the police, and they waited.

Soon, another car pulled up. Out jumped McDaniel with a big smile on her face.

She'd found Gabanna.

But that smile faded quickly after McDaniel learned Gabanna had been struck by a small bus. The dog was scraped up, and it looked like she might have broken a leg.

Then came the tears. McDaniel said she had a mini breakdown. She was thinking out loud.

"Oh my God, how am I going to pay for this?"

McGuire said he watched the young woman's face change from elation "to just despair."

The young family, which includes two young children, survives on a single income. The couple's savings is limited to a small fund they had planned to use for Christmas gifts.

McDaniel said McGuire told her: "You take that dog to any vet you want, and I will pay for every penny."

At first, McDaniel couldn't imagine accepting money from a total stranger.

But McGuire insisted.

"I said, 'Don't worry about it. I'll pay for it.' And she said, 'Are you serious?'" McGuire recalled later that day. "You just don't say no when someone's world is collapsing. If you have a way to help out, you help out."

McDaniel gathered up Gabanna and hurried to drop off her daughter with a baby sitter.

On her way to the veterinarian's office, McDaniel realized her gas tank was nearly empty. She stopped at a nearby Rutter's to fill up — only to discover she had left her wallet in the diaper bag she left with the babysitter.

Panicked, McDaniel went into the store and called her fiancé for help. An assistant manager at the store tapped her on the shoulder.

"She put $10 in my gas tank out of her personal pocket money," McDaniel said.

And off they went to get Gabanna the medical help she needed.

Gabanna suffered a broken pelvis, and her skin is badly scraped. But, McDaniel said, she is expected to make a full recovery.

For the next couple of months, McDaniel will be keeping Gabanna as still as possible. Hopefully, the canine escape artist won't need surgery.

And the $470 veterinarian bill will be covered by a 31-year-old CEO and some of his Facebook friends who offered to pitch in when McGuire posted this story online.

"Honestly, my fiancé and I haven't really met people like this before," McDaniel said. "It's just nice to know that people still are like that."