By chance, a Polish policeman helps Lech Walesa with a flat tire in the United States

TOLLAND, Conn. — A Connecticut state trooper from Poland was surprised to respond to an SUV with a flat tire on Wednesday — a passenger in the vehicle happened to be former Polish President Lech Walesa.

State Police say Private Lukasz Lipert arrived on call in Tolland and was greeted by Walesa, who spoke in Hartford on Tuesday as part of his US tour to plead for aid to refugees who fled Ukraine during the war with Russia.

Lipert, 35, who came to the United States when he was 18, told the Hartford Courant he spoke with Walesa in Polish about their homeland and the anti-communist movement Walesa helped lead.

“It was definitely a great opportunity to meet the man who had a voice at that time,” Lipert said. “It was really a great experience.”

Walesa, 78, led the national Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s which eventually overthrew Poland’s communist leaders in an election in 1989. He received a Nobel Prize in 1983 and was the first Polish president elected by the people from 1990 to 1995. He is a strong critic of the current right-wing Polish government.

A vehicle maintenance worker changed the tire and Walesa continued on I-84. One of his next stops is an event in Boston on Monday.

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