BILLINGS — Just when Lindsay Gardner thought life as a Griz football fan couldn't get any worse after Montana recently fell 23-3 to South Dakota State in the FCS championship game, it did.
Returning home on a recent frigid, windy day, Gardner thought her beloved Griz football inflatable helmet had been snatched from the family's front yard.
“The whole (football) season, I figure somebody was going to either pop it, or steal it, or something was going to happen,” Gardner told MTN.
Something did happen. Just not what she had originally suspected.
“I saw the helmet out in the street, just back and forth in the wind," said UPS delivery driver Jonathan Kuntz. "It was really windy that day, and I was like, 'Oh man, their helmet is out there,' so …”
So, Kuntz rang the Gardners' doorbell to let them know, but nobody answered. Then he did something most wouldn't. He took the time to untangle it and safely place it next to the house.
Meantime, Gardner was having a rough week. Her husband was out of town, her car wouldn’t start, the Griz had lost the FCS title game and now this. Then, she saw a hand-written note next to her doorbell which read, "You almost lost the Griz helmet. It’s by table on the side."
“I just can’t drive off," Kuntz said. "I’m not that type of person, you know.”
The gesture restored Gardner's faith and, though she’d never met Kuntz, she certainly wanted to thank him.
Hoping someone would recognize him, Lindsey posted a humorous Facebook note with Kuntz's picture from the doorbell cam that read in part, "It turns out the UPS driver pictured above noticed our masterpiece slipping away (just like our performance in Frisco). While I know some of you Bobcat fans would’ve preferred my lawn ornament blow away, I think we can all agree folks like this guy make you feel a little bit better about this crazy and chaotic world we live in.”
“I really just wanted to thank him and let him know how much of an impact he’d had on my day,” Gardner told MTN.
“To know when I’m not at home that there’s somebody like him that cares enough about a stupid inflatable that I do like and care about … that’s important for our community to know and to celebrate.”
Kuntz said he never hesitated.
“I have two kids at home and showing them that if you do the right thing when no one is looking, sometimes it means the most to somebody you don’t even know,” he said.
In a day where porch pirates are known to snag packages, Gardner is grateful to know drivers like Kuntz are delivering more than boxes.
“There’s a dog over here on Miles (Avenue) that I returned the other day," Kuntz humbly recalled with a smile. "He was out three blocks from his house, and I found him with his tag and just took him back to his owner.”
It’s only January, but Kuntz should probably head the UPS list for Employee of the Year.