'Minnesota nice' mystery solved: Author of note left in jacket pocket steps forward


“Your car is parked in the tobacco shop parking lot at 18th Av NE and Stinson.”

That was the note left in Aaron Purmort’s jacket pocket after he had a seizure and blacked out while driving.

His wife, Nora, shared the note – and their gratitude for the gesture – online. And it quickly piqued the curiosity of people across the nation.

“Life is full of small miracles,” one Facebook user wrote on the post. And another: “Angels among us everyday.”

Everyone wanted to know who left the note. And now we’ve got an answer: Minneapolis Police officer Kyle Severson.

The Star Tribune spoke with Severson Friday. The 16-year veteran of the force says it was “just a routine call.”

“For me,” he tells the paper, “it’s much to-do about nothing.”

Aaron Purmort, who was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer two years ago, suffered a seizure while driving in northeast Minneapolis. Before he knew it, he was in an ambulance. He and Nora found the note in his jacket later, and she put it on Facebook.

Post by Nora McInerny Purmort.

Severson, according to KARE 11, was one of the first on the scene. He tells the station he approached Purmort’s vehicle, saw him slumped over behind the wheel, and noticed the car running and in gear, but stopped.

He tells the Star Tribune he moved his squad car behind Purmort’s vehicle, to ensure it did not roll away; and Purmort, barely responsive, managed to unlock the car doors and turn off the ignition. According to KARE 11, Severson got in the car and put his foot on the brake, then stayed until paramedics arrived.

The officer then moved the car off the road so it would not get towed – then slipped that now-famous note into Purmort’s jacket pocket.

"I didn’t think he’d remember where the car was, so I just wrote a quick note so that when he found his keys, he’d know where his car was,” Severson tells the Star Tribune.

The Today Show did a national segment on the Purmorts and Severson. The show says proper procedure was to impound the car – but the officer said he “figured [Aaronn] had enough on his plate” already.

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The Star Tribune says Severson only admitted to leaving the note after one of his superiors asked at roll call Wednesday – after Nora posted it online, and after multiple news outlets had reported on the story.

The couple said they weren’t trying to figure out who the anonymous helping hand was – they just wanted to thank them for the Minnesota nice gesture.

It was Aaron’s first seizure in two years, Nora said. She’s documenting her husband’s progress battling brain cancer on her blog, My Husband’s Tumor.

KARE 11 reports Aaron was having chemotherapy treatment Friday, and could not meet Severson. But both he and Nora say they are “extremely grateful,” the station says.

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