Local carfuffle shows the bright side of Heber City

The tools Anthony La Notte and Dustin Swain picked up after Jon Johnson lost them from the back of his truck.
Courtesy of Jon Johnson

Even when small towns grow, they don’t have to lose their small-town feel. Regardless of temples, police-involved shootings and heated conversations over development, people can still care about another.

That’s what hundreds of community members and Jon Johnson were reminded of this week after Johnson lost about $1,500 worth of tools from the back of his truck and found they had been collected off the street, placed in his toolbox and looked after.

The owner of Zipline Utah and Utah Adventure Park was working at a building next to Main Street he intends to open as a snowmobile adventure center and food-truck court in the coming months.

When it came time to leave, he took off with his tools still sitting on his tailgate. They didn’t stay there long.

“When I made that corner, it slid off and it was propped open,” Johnson said. Eventually, he recognized his error and returned. 

“I drove all the way back and I was kind of crestfallen that I didn’t see it on the way back,” he said. “I pulled back out and pulled back into that intersection and looked over towards the One Stop there.”

That’s when he saw his toolbox. The lid was opened, and he initially thought that whoever had taken all of his tools had at least been kind enough to leave him with the empty container.

“The lid was open,” he said. “Like, there’s just no way everything’s going to be in there.”

But it was.

When his tools took a tumble, contractors Anthony La Notte and Dustin Swain were working on The Hub restaurant and saw what happened. 

After 13 years as a firefighter in California, La Notte noticed the potential road hazard. 

“I immediately went to my truck and I had a reflective vest and me and my coworker … we had the same thought,” La Notte said. 

They went to pick the equipment off the street and placed it in Johnson’s toolbox for him.

La Notte knew exactly how much tools can mean to someone.

“Things are very expensive. People work very hard,” he said. “This could be somebody that lost his tools and he doesn’t know how to re-get his tools because that’s how he makes money.”

And that, he said, can lead to a regretful breadwinner trying to provide for a hungry family.

“There was just a lot of things to it,” he said. “We don’t know everybody’s story.”

La Nolle said he likes to sleep at night, and following his moral compass helps him.

Johnson moved to Heber City 12 years ago in search of a home with a small-town vibe that offered recreational opportunities. It’s grown a lot since then, but it’s still a place where people help each other out.

“I’m a big fan of Heber Valley,” he said. 

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