‘It makes me really happy’: Teen who walks several miles to work, school gifted car for Christmas
GARDENDALE, Ala. (WBRC/Gray News) - A young man who walks to and from work and school received the gift of a lifetime Wednesday.
The co-workers and friends of Ian Vinziant gathered at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant where Vinziant works for a Secret Santa event.
Vinziant is a senior at Gardendale High School who not only balances school and nearly 40 hours of work every week, but he also does it all while walking nearly everywhere he goes, according to WBRC.
“I really didn’t know what to believe,” Vinziant said. “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.”
Vinziant’s co-worker Hannah Graham said he is the sweetest co-worker who works hard and is always on time, if not early to work despite having to walk there.
Graham said Vinziant walks about two miles to work and one and a half miles to school.
This knowledge made her and Rileigh George come up with a seemingly crazy idea of what to gift him.
“We were like, ‘let’s get him a car for Christmas,’” Graham said. “I don’t know how we’re going to do that.”
The two started a GoFundMe and raised $700, which was not quite enough to purchase a car.
But that’s when Lisa Easterwood stepped in and offered up an older car.
“This car has been a blessing to us,” Easterwood said. “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.”
Easterwood said she was surprised with a new car from her husband for her birthday during the summer. She waited months for the perfect opportunity to gift the other car.
“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,” she said.
The surprise gift from the stranger nearly overwhelmed Vinziant.
“This lady here who I’ve never met, never seen, never even talk to just donated this to me … it makes me really happy,” he said. “It really does. This is probably, like, the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten.”
Graham said Easterwood wouldn’t accept a dime from the GoFundMe. Instead, they will be gifting the $700 back to Vinziant to get a car tag, gas, and anything else he and his family needs right now.
Copyright 2022 WBRC via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.