The tow truck driver stabbed, beaten, robbed, and then left on the side of I-70 all while trying to help someone is still struggling to recover and now he may lose his business because of the attack.
Since Al Baker was attacked in January, he’s suffered seizures, undergone surgery, and missed weeks of work. All that time in the hospital has affected his business, Baker’s Towing/Al’s Auto Repair, and now he is more worried about his company than his health.
“We used to work seven days a week but now we don’t work on weekends because we just don’t have the work,” Baker said.
Even with his neck still in a brace, Baker said he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. Instead, he’s worried about his employees, who he calls his support group.
“They’re only getting half of their normal paycheck, but they don’t care. They’re still here,” Baker said. “They’re here teasing me, telling me it’ll be ok.”
He said his business has slowed down because his customers have heard about the attack and thought the wrecking company was temporarily closed.
“I can’t walk very far, stand up very long. I’ll start getting vertigo,” Baker explained. “So I’ll sit in the back and people don’t think I’m here so they won’t come in.”
Even though he said he has the best support system helping him with his recovery, he fears the business he’s worked for for 35 years may be failing.
“I’ll definitely lose my business if I can’t start working,” Baker said.
So Baker’s friend and customer Richard Wieman decided it was time to step in, so he created a GoFundMe page to help out.
“Al truly is a good Samaritan. Now is our time to help Al since he’s helped so many people for so long without expecting anything, ” Wieman said.
Wieman said the goal is to raise $54,000.
“We expect he’ll need about $20,000 per month because his business is slow and he’ll be out for about two months, plus he has hospital bills on top of it,” Wieman said.
He said he hopes it helps Al focus on recovery.
“Al has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He’ll stop and help anyone plus he even helps people out who don’t have enough money and won’t charge what people say is the standard for work,” Wieman said. “I know Al and he’ll think he doesn’t deserve this, that he should be helping the community, but we have to help him.”
Baker was bashfully grateful learning about the fund, but he has his hopes set on something a little smaller: life to return to normal.
“I want people to know I’m still here, the warranty is still here, the quality work is still here, and I don’t want them to stop coming just because they don’t see me,” Baker said.
Baker is headed back to the hospital next week for another procedure.
Columbia police said they still don’t have any leads on who attacked him.
If you’d like to contribute to Baker’s GoFundMe page, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/ndfcw8 .