HOUSTON — The kind stranger who helped Elizabeth Robinson, the 13-year-old who stole her brother’s car for an out-of-state trip to see her boyfriend, sent a heartfelt message to the girl and her family.
Tammy (last name withheld for privacy) said she was the person who ran across the young girl at a gas station in Arkansas and gave her some money to help her on her journey. But in no way did Beth tell Tammy she was on her way to meet a boy, instead she lied and said a family tragedy had her rushing home.
“I want to share with you my role in Beth’s journey to clarify any concerns that you may have about me and my encounter with Beth,” Tammy said in a letter forwarded to KHOU 11 News. I am in my mid-50s and friendly.”
Tammy said she noticed Beth a few islands over from her pump and the girl appeared to be looking for something. After the two exchanged a friendly smile, Beth headed over to ask for help.
Beth said she was trying to get to Kentucky because her father, who was supposedly in the Army, had died. She wanted to be home with her family, but did not have enough gas to make it and needed at least $20.
Tammy said her heart went out to the young girl and, although she did not believe she had $20, she figured she had at least half of that in her purse.
But when Tammy looked inside her purse, to her surprise, she actually found a twenty dollar bill.
Tammy said she had no idea where the money came from and, to this day, feels it was a sign that she was meant to help.
She never imagined that Beth was gaining national attention and she, too, had a starring role.
It wasn’t until a couple of days later that Tammy learned the girl’s true identity. After seeing the reports and photos of Beth plastered across the Internet, she was taken aback.
The details of Beth’s adventure quickly began to unravel.
The teen found herself smitten with an 11-year-old boy, Dylan, who she met while playing Xbox Live online. The two decided they were boyfriend and girlfriend, and Beth just had to see him. She stole her mom’s ATM card and her brother ‘s car, then left Cypress, Texas heading to Hodgenville, Kentucky.
She mananged to drive nearly 700 miles until a state trooper ended her trip. Beth was taken off the road and went home without ever meeting her beau. Remarkably, the teen driver did not harm herself or anyone else during her trip.
Tammy had to do a double-take after learning the true age of the girl because, to her, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“Even as I look back and try to recall our encounter and anything that should have raised a red flag, I can’t find anything. To me, she appeared to be younger than 20, but I still have a problem believing she was only 13. I figured her to be about 17 or 18,” Tammy wrote. “Perhaps, I just assumed she was older because she was driving and I knew she was from out of state, so the thought never entered my mind that she was so young. I felt I had done the best I could to help a grieving daughter that was doing her best to get home because her father had died.”
Tammy said her shock turned into amazement, then to concern for the little lovestruck girl who took an extraordinary risk to meet a boy she met online. Still, she has some words of wisdom she would like to share with Beth.
“She needs to take the advice from an old lady. The boys will come soon enough so don’t rush it. Take your teenage years and your early twenties to discover who you are first. Develop good relationships with girlfriends that make you laugh and are there to support you thru the good and the bad,” Tammy wrote. “Talk to your parents about anything you want to know. They love you more than anyone ever will. And….. Honey, please don’t scare us like that again!”
Tammy did have one more thing to say;Beth still owes her $20, but Tammy is willing to forgive the debt and the lie. She hopes Beth will take the opportunity to pay her act of kindness forward one day.