When Andy Mitchell spotted a young man in a fast food uniform walking along the side of a road on a 95-degree summer day in Rockwall, Texas, he felt compelled to pull over.
He rolled down his window and offered the man, a 20-year-old named Justin Korva, a ride — not knowing how much that small gesture would impact the man’s life.
While driving the Korva to work at Taco Casa, Mitchell discovered the young man normally walked 3 miles to work and home again every day. Korva said he was determined to save up money and someday, he hoped, he would be able to afford a car.
After dropping off Korva, Mitchell posted about the man’s determination on Facebook.
“To all the people that say they want to work but can’t find a job or don’t have a vehicle all I can say is you don’t want it bad enough,” Mitchell wrote.
Hundreds of people in the community saw his post, including Samee Dowlatshahi, owner of Samee’s Pizza Getti Italian Bistro & Lounge in Rockwell.
Dowlatshahi offered to put a donation box inside his pizza joint to aid Korva in his quest to buy a car.
In less than 48 hours, with some help from Mitchell, they’d raised more than $5,500.
That’s when Danny Rawls, general sales manager at Toyota of Rockwall and a friend of Dowlatshahi, heard Korva’s inspiring story.
“I presented it to my general manager and said, ‘Hey, let’s help the kid. It seems like a great story,'” Rawls told CBS News.
His boss agreed, and the pair reduced the price on a 2004 Toyota Camry that was available.
“I sent [Dowlatshahi] a private message and said, ‘Give me a call. I have a nice car that would work for the kid,'” Rawls explained.
Not only did they have enough money to buy the car, they had enough left over to pay for his insurance for a year, plus two years’ worth of oil changes and a $500 gas card.
Last Friday, they drove the white 2004 Camry to Taco Casa and asked Korva to come outside.
“Justin, you can’t imagine all the people who wanted to help you,” Mitchell said, as several people filmed the exchange on their cellphones in the restaurant parking lot. “So, instead of walking to work, buddy, you’re driving this car from now on.”
Korva looked at Mitchell in disbelief, “Are you serious?”
“It’s your car! This is your car,” Mitchell repeated.
Korva gave each man a hug, wiping tears from his eyes as he walked toward the car.
“We just want you to know, seriously, this community, nothing we love better than to have someone who works hard,” Dowlatshahi said. “We take a lot of pride in that. It’s so hot out here, I can’t believe you walk even one mile in this heat.”
Later that day, Rawls helped Korva complete the paperwork on the car and put the title in his name.
“Surreal” is the only word Rawls could use to describe the moment he watched Korva walk away with the keys.
“He’s a very humble young man and accepted it with stride,” Rawls said. “There couldn’t have been more of a deserving individual, for sure.”