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Twin Cities good Samaritan is Northland's own

It really wasn't a big deal, the Minneapolis police officer insisted after scribbling a note and stuffing it into the pocket of a man who suffered a seizure and passed out behind the wheel. Just part of the job.

Except the officer didn't sign his note, prompting the man and his wife to post a picture of it on Facebook. They hoped to find out the identity of the kind stranger who went above and beyond to let them know where their car was after the man was taken out of it and to a hospital. For nearly a week the mystery grew. The post went viral. It got so big that when the officer finally was identified as Kyle Severson he found himself featured Saturday on NBC's "Today" show.

And if that name sounds familiar, it's because Severson is one of us. He was born and raised in Saginaw and graduated from Proctor High School. His dad, Fred Severson, used to work here at the News Tribune.

"It took two minutes of my time to make a good call great. It wasn't a lot of effort on my part," Severson told the show. "If I thought it was a big deal I would have spent a little more time on my penmanship. I'd have been a little neater."

Severson has been with the Minneapolis police for 16 years. He took some deserved grief from his fellow officers and others for the sloppiness of his hastily written note. His teachers at Pike Lake Elementary had to be cringing.

Severson's parents, meanwhile, were beaming.

"It was just an everyday thing and it kind of went zooming," his mother, Carol Severson, told me Monday. "I'm proud of him. That would be something he would do. It just seems so funny for something so little to turn into something so big."

What Severson did wasn't so little to Aaron Purmort, the man behind the wheel. He suffers from brain cancer.

"The nice little things in life really do go a long way," his wife, Nora Purmort, told "Today."

The show reported that Severson noticed scars on Aaron Purmort's head. And the man clearly was confused about where he was, what day it was and other details.

"I figured he had enough on his plate already," Severson said. "I asked him, 'Do you want me to park your car for you?' And he told me he doesn't drive; he takes the bus."

So Severson took two minutes and parked the car. And then made sure the driver would be able to find it again. Didn't think twice about it. Just did it. Just part of the job.

Taking that extra step for someone who needs it -- and without expecting anything or any credit in return -- is the right thing to do, always. And don't we all want to live in a place where that happens and where we can count on it?

The "Today" show's headline Saturday was, "Good Samaritan helps driver who had seizure, restores our faith in humanity."

Ours, too. And we can all thank a fellow Northlander for that.

Chuck Frederick is the News Tribune's editorial page editor. Contact him at (218) 723-5316 or