History - Western Union/Stuckey's motorist messaging [telecom]

The following is paraphrased from the June 11, 1973, Western Union Newsletter. (I do not believe the newsletter is available on-line.)

In 1973, the Stuckey's roadside restaurant chain implemented a computerized messaging service for motorists. "HELPS"--Highway Emergency Locating Paging Service utilized a Western Union private wire system to connect to its 350 outlets. At each outlet, there was a CRT terminal kisok.

A party wishing to contact a traveller calls the HELPS message center in Eastman, GA. They give the phone number of the traveller and the number to be called.

A traveller enters his home phone number into the terminal, and the system advised the phone number he is to call. The article did not indicate if any other information could be left in the message, or what the service fees were, if any.

Anyone ever see this system in use?

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Western Union, as we know, once could accept telegrams at many railroad stations and airports. Further, at staffed Western Union desks and offices, travellers could receive cash wired to them by family or friends (money by wire is the service offered by today's Western Union.) While highway rest stops usually had a battery of pay phones, I always wondered if Western Union had desks, agent arrangements, or coin collectors at major turnpike service plazas (I don't recall seeing any.)

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