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Perhaps Violet and Harold Goff should have recognized the fellow who rang their doorbell one recent Sunday in Southington, Ohio. But they didn't. After all, it had been 34 years since they last saw him ... on a snowy winter night when he'd run out of gas near their home and needed help. Harold, or Skip, as he likes to be called, did teenager Jeffrey Hardin a favor then, giving him a five-gallon can of fuel so he could drive his girlfriend home. It helped that the Goffs knew her as a friend of one of their daughters. "I'll need you to pay me back," Skip said as Hardin left. But although he still lives in the area, he never returned.
Meanwhile, gasoline has gone up in price from not much more than $1 a gallon to $4. So imagine the Goffs' surprise as this 50-something man stood there, reintroducing himself and explaining that the time had come to repay their kindness. Oh, don't worry about it, the couple told him. "No," he insisted, "I want to get it out of my head." He went to his pickup truck, lifted out a five-gallon plastic container, and asked where they'd like him to put it. In the garage, to which he was directed, was an old, stained can that might have been the one from which Skip drew the gas for him all those years ago, and Hardin laughed when he saw it. Said Skip later, "He got something that was worth $5 and brought back something that was worth $25."