Country artist Michela Sheedy threatened to miss an important gig at the Stampede on Monday when a stranger’s kindness changed everything.
An accomplished country artist, Sheedy often sings the national anthem at Calgary Flames games. On Monday, she was due to sing the national anthem at the Stampede rodeo and was driving from her home outside Okotoks to Calgary when her car broke down on the highway.
“I had a bit of a panic attack in my car,” she said. “I was stopped on the side of the road. Luckily someone had helped push my car over.”
An RCMP officer then showed up and helped set up pylons around the vehicle before taking off again. Sheedy said she frantically called everyone she knew looking for a ride, but to no avail.
Fortunately, she had left early for the show, but time still ran out. That was when Ajay Chattha came on the scene and stopped just as the RCMP officer drove away.
“He was like, ‘Are you okay?’ I was like ‘No’ and I explained the situation,” Sheedy said.
Chattha, who lives in Okotoks, said he was only driving to refuel, and his day was wide open.
“She said she should sing the national anthem at the Stampede. And then I told her I could drive her there. She needed a ride, her car wasn’t working and I wasn’t busy that day, so I thought, why not help her?”
When they arrived, Chattha said they weren’t dealing with the usual parking issues. He said he felt like a famous driver.
“As soon as I stopped there was a person who immediately had a backstage pass for us. They put that in my car and we followed her all the way backstage at the Stampede, which is cool. Like I’ve never been backstage before.”
Sheedy said she had about ten minutes left when she finally got on stage. She sang the national anthem, they saw a bit of the rodeo, and then Chattha drove her all the way back to Okotoks so she could get to her next performance in time.
She said Chattha’s gesture really reflects Stampede’s spirit.
“Despite all our challenges that we’ve all faced over the past few years, there are still nice people out there,” Sheedy says. “The western spirit is alive and people are here to help when you are in need.”
Chattha said he was just glad Sheedy chose to leave a little earlier that day. He is also happy that he got a great story out of his adventure.
“I love this story,” he said. “It’s just one of those crazy Stampede stories.”