It’s not every day that one gets surprised with a car, but that’s exactly what happened to a school custodian in Georgia.
Chris Jackson works as the head custodian at Unity Grove Elementary School in Locust Grove, Georgia. He values his job and doesn’t let anything get in the way of him showing up for work.
Chris doesn’t own a car, so if he can’t catch a ride to work, he walks.
“We had buses, transportation, but I was quicker than the bus. It would add an hour, hour 45. And I was only an hour from my job. So for me, there’s no stopping me,” Chris told 11Alive.
When two teachers at the school—special education teacher Jodi Combs and first-grade teacher Megan MacDonald—found out that Chris had gone through some financial troubles this summer, they wanted to help him.
“Chris is one of those co-workers that whatever you need, he’s going to make it happen,” Combs said. “The kids adore him, the teachers adore him. And he works so very hard.”
Combs and MacDonald set up a fundraiser for Chris. With the help of teachers and members of the community, they were able to raise $1,000. They gave Chris most of that money and saved the rest when they found out he was walking to work.
“We kept some of those original funds to be able to help Chris when he did find a car, be able to get his tag and insurance and all of those things that go with it,” Combs said.
She and MacDonald knew that Chris had saved some cash for a car, but it wasn’t enough.
Coincidentally, in August, one of MacDonald’s friends put her Chevy Impala for sale.
“Let’s make this happen for Chris,” MacDonald told Combs.
The pair knew how much Chris had saved up, but even if they added that to their reserve, they still needed an additional $1,000 to buy the car. So, they put out a call on a private Facebook group for Unity Grove Elementary staff, asking for more financial help to get Chris a much-needed vehicle.
Incredibly, Combs and MacDonald were able to raise enough money within the day!
On the day of the surprise, Combs drove the Chevy Impala to school and asked Chris to help her with something during lunchtime.
She and two other teachers walked to the parking lot with Chris. Then, she plopped the keys into Chris’ hands. The custodian was stunned when Combs told him it was his car.
She then went on to explain how they got the car before telling the shocked Chris that they “love” him.
The man raised both of his hands and said, “Oh my stars, there is a God. Thank you, thank you all. I thank you all.”
“I never would have dreamed of something like this,” he added. “This is mind-blowing to me.”
Principal Anne Wilson of Unity Grove Elementary School said that gestures like this weren’t unusual for the school.
“Any time we know of a need, people just come flooding to help … I’ve been here 20 years as principal and it’s always been that way,” she said.
When Combs and MacDonald got the car, they weren’t even sure if Chris would like it. But as it turns out, it was his dream car.
The teachers were able to get Chris the title to the car, his tag, and cover some of his insurance with the money they raised. But after the video of the surprise went viral on Facebook, a community member paid for his car insurance for an entire year.
According to Kaitlyn Ross of 11Alive, Chris plans to visit his mother now that he has a car.
What a beautiful gesture! See Chris’s reaction to the surprise in the video below.