NEW YORK (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – A Flatbush resident whose good deed became the talk of social media is downplaying the incident, saying that it was a kindness that anyone would have done.
25 year old Kasriel Zakutinsky unexpectedly found himself in the limelight after a Facebook post by Mary Kate Tischler that described how he changed a flat tire on her car on the Southern State Parkway early last week began making the social media rounds.
In her post, Tischler explained that she had pulled over onto the side of the highway and was about to call AAA when an Orthodox Jewish man stopped his car and changed the tire for her, refusing to take any payment for his services.
A senior in house litigator for WarnerMedia who had been traveling with her young daughter, Tischler was astounded that a random person would stop in 96 degree heat and volunteer their services. She asked her Facebook friends to do something help a stranger, much like the man, later identified as Zakutinsky, had done for her.
In the days that followed, the flat tire story began circulating on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Zakutinsky woke up in the early morning hours of September 1st to find a message from a friend sharing Tischler’s tale and asking him if he knew who had changed the tire. Scrolling through the post, which described the good Samaritan as a member of an Orthodox Jewish group that provides roadside assistance, Zakutinsky was more than a little surprised to find a picture of himself changing Tischler’s tire on the side of the Southern State.
Arriving at his job later that morning, several people told him that they had heard the story as well, but Zakutinsky, a member of Chaverim of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway since his yeshiva days, believes that anyone would have acted similarly.
“I didn’t even tell my wife about it when it happened,” Zakutinsky told VIN News. “I am on the road all the time and if I can help someone, I am happy too, especially when it is super hot, super cold or very rainy or if they have kids in the car.”
During the course of their short meeting, Zakutinsky told Tischler about Chaverim and its mission to help others. Asked if he used the radio strapped to his belt in his capacity as a Chaverim member, Zakutinsky explained to Tischler that he was also a member of Flatbush Hatzalah, leaving her stunned.
“I never heard of such a thing before,” observed Tischler in her Facebook post. “And he said, ‘yeah, you only hear the bad stuff about us.’”
In a followup Facebook post dated September 1st, Tischler shared that Zakutinsky had reached out to her on LinkedIn to say how grateful he was to have been able to help and clarifying the differences between Hatzalah, Chaverim and Shomrim.
Despite the positive buzz, Zakutinsky still maintains that what he did was nothing out of the ordinary.
“This is what we should be doing,” said Zakutinsky, who has changed countless tires for strangers. “Especially when you wear a yarmulka, the main thing is just to be a good person.”