Kayla Lewis stood in the cold Friday morning outside her Silvis apartment and burst into tears. For several moments, she could not speak.
Her 2002 Ford Windstar burgundy van, with 83,000 miles on it, sat across the street from her apartment.
“Some elves told us that maybe you need some reliable transportation,” said Travis Sherven, CEO of Jeff’s Car Corner, Davenport, while he handed her the keys.
Diana Anghel, of Transitions Mental Health Services, Inc., Moline, also choked up. She had kept the secret so the mother of three would be surprised.
Hugs were given all around before and after a stunned Lewis started the van and drove it.
Her other vehicle has been a problem for some time: “They couldn’t keep it running long enough to change the oil,” she said. Additionally, the heat didn’t work in the front of the car. "I fix one thing and then another thing comes."
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“Now we can get to work and appointments and everywhere else,” Lewis said, adding she has put a lot of money into her other vehicle.
“You said you didn’t have a lot of people you can rely on,” Sherven told Lewis. “Now you do.” He offered to help with whatever she needs for the car – “You are never going to pay retail prices again.”
She said “2019 has already started off great!”
Now she can drive her kids, Nevaeh Williams, 15; Jeramiah Lewis, 11; and Messiah Lewis, 8. And Nevaeh, who couldn’t believe the family had a new-to-them van – “No way!” she said – will learn to drive in this vehicle.
Kayla Lewis is a behavioral health tech at the Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health, and also works at Hungry Hobo.
Anghel, she said, is her caseworker, who helps with her budget, and other tasks "when things get overwhelming."
“This is a huge part of our company and our commitment to the community,” said Sherven, who was more than a little choked up himself. “It’s the most beautiful thing we can do, at this time of year, especially.” (Reporter Barb Ickes contributed to this story.)