An elderly couple are heralding a stranger as their guardian angel after she attempted to replace their blown tyre in the pouring rain before putting them up in a hotel for the night.
"It was a wet and soaky night," 78-year-old Hemana Eruera said, describing the details of June 23 when the car tyre went flat while they were driving down a Tauranga side street.
Hemana and wife Sarah, both from Te Teko, were on their first leg of a long-awaited trip to see The Lion King in Auckland, which was being performed the next evening, with whānau.
The couple left their home behind schedule and by the time they drove through some roadworks in Tauranga darkness had set in.
"We heard a big thud but we didn't know what it was," Hemana said.
It wasn't until the car went around a roundabout that Hemana recognised the problem.
"The car wobbled a bit and I felt it. I knew it was the tyre."
The pair pulled over on a side street and put their hazard lights on.
Hemana was ready to begin the slow process of changing the tyre while suffering sciatica back pains when another pair of headlights appeared.
"She just turned up behind me. The ground was soggy but she got on her hands and knees to help with the tyre," Hemana said.
"We thought she was a guardian angel."
Their saviour was not an apparition but single mum Leanne Emery.
Emery was on her way to the supermarket when she spotted the couple stranded by the side of the road.
"I thought they might not be okay," Emery said. "If it were my nan, I'd want someone to pull over and help."
Emery's good deed did not stop there. When she saw the car's spare tyre was also low on air, Emery insisted they follow her to the nearest garage to test it.
"We tried to fill [the tyre] but the air was still coming out of it," Emery said.
"I said they could come and stay the night at my place but they didn't want to put me out."
Instead, Emery found them accommodation at the Cameron Thermal Motel, which is adjacent to a tyre repair business.
Emery said Hemana and Sarah warmed her heart with stories about their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"They were just beautiful."
Emery decided to pay for the couple's accommodation for the night. When she booked them a motel room, she realised she didn't even know their names.
"I was surprised," Cameron Thermal Motel manager Andrew Oh said.
"She told me she didn't know them but she wanted to pay for their room. That doesn't normally happen."
Hemana and Sarah were overwhelmed with gratitude when they checked out the next morning only to find their stay had been paid for in full.
"It was so humbling to meet that lady," Hemana said.
"I just can't thank her enough. It was an incredible evening."
The couple's granddaughter and Rotorua resident Teiria Sandle was also very grateful.
"Koro rang me that night. I was already a bit anxious because Koro said he was driving all the way up to Auckland.
"When Koro told me he got a flat tyre my heart sunk but then he said they were in a motel and told me the whole story.
"I'm so happy she was there."
Sandle described her koro and nan as "the most selfless people".
"I'm very blessed to have the most precious and loving grandparents," Sandle said.
Emery, who works for Ngāti Ranginui as the Western Bay of Plenty SUDI safe sleep prevention co-ordinator, said she only did what anyone would.
"I'm actually feeling a bit funny about the recognition. I don't think I did anything out of the norm.
"I just hope [the story] does encourage others to realise that regardless of your own circumstances it doesn't cost anything to be kind."
The couple were able to make the rest of the trip to Auckland and hope they will be able to catch up with Emery soon and thank her in person.