Making Her Day
updated 08/04/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/04/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Walter Jeffries was just kidding, but McCombs, 26, was too rattled to notice. "I just lost it," she recalls. "I was sobbing." Startled, Jeffries, 66, a former tavern owner who has worked the Union Plaza tollbooth since 1991, asked what was wrong. When McCombs told him, he reached into his wallet and pulled out a $10 bill. "Take this," he said, "and go."
That small gesture not only bailed out McCombs, it sent her off to a "perfect" wedding to press operator Kent Parnau, 32. "I felt better immediately," says McCombs, a sales assistant at an L.A. printing company. "I felt at peace." Jeffries says he was only treating her as he would his two grown daughters, and Jeffries's boss, Jocelyn Rodenbeck-Honan, reveals a fact that suggests Heather might someday consider a second trip through New Jersey: Other tolltakers have helped deliver babies.