One high school senior received a truly life-changing Christmas gift last week.
Ian Vinziant has been walking two miles to his job at Buffalo Wild Wings and one-and-a-half miles to Gardendale High School in Alabama every day, according to WBRC-TV. That’s why his coworkers decided to work together to get the teenager a car for their “Secret Santa” gift exchange.
“I really didn’t know what to believe,” said Vinziant. “I was thinking it was a prank. They were all just gonna make a little laugh. I didn’t know I was actually going to get a car of my own.”
After learning how far he walks every day, two of Vinziant’s coworkers, Hannah Graham and Rileigh George, came up with the idea to get him a car for their gift exchange — a big undertaking they weren’t sure they could even pull off.
So, the pair launched a GoFundMe campaign. To date, they have raised more than $1,000.
“This Christmas, we want to bless him with a car!” reads the description of the campaign. “He walks everywhere he goes and still manages to be on time or early! You never hear anything negative from his mouth, no matter the situation and he is more than deserving of this! Please help us make this possible for him! Thank you all for the help and support! Merry Christmas!”
That’s when a complete stranger, Lisa Easterwood, stepped in.
She came across the GoFundMe campaign while scrolling Facebook and reached out to offer up her older car after her husband surprised her with a brand new vehicle for her birthday over the summer.
“I saw a Facebook post about a young man needing a car and I just knew — I just felt in my heart that’s where it’s supposed to be,” Easterwood said.
The good Samaritan described the older car as “a blessing,” explaining, “I ended up buying this car at a time — I had just come through a really hard season in my own life — and so it’s been a blessing to me, and I always felt like, one day, I would pass it on to someone else.”
Vinziant was totally overwhelmed by Easterwood’s kind-hearted gesture.
“This lady here, who I’ve never met, never seen, never even talk to, just donated this to me,” he said. “[I]t makes me really happy. It really does. This is probably, like, the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten.”
Graham noted Easterwood refused to take any of the cash raised by the GoFundMe campaign. That money will instead go directly to Vinziant so he can pay for any vehicle costs he might have.