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Life's Lessons Learned from a Car: An Election Year Car Donation Story

There are two times in a young mans’ life when he feels that he is all grown-up, when he gets his first car and the first time he votes. Last year, we received an interesting donation. 

Ruth, our donor service manager, received a phone call from Laurie. She, along with her family, wanted to donate a very special 1983 Buick. The car had been in her family and was given to her son when he turned 16. He drove it back and forth to work and school. When his brother turned 16, they both shared the Buick. 

In late fall 2011, both brothers were excited 2012 was going to be an election year, and for the both of them, it would be their first time voting for president. Caught up in the excitement and emotion, they asked if they could decorate their car with presidential campaign stickers for the nominee they were backing. Laurie and her husband helped their sons decorate the car. After all, it was 29 years old!

They even put some thought into the overall design. There were stickers that went down each side of the car like a pinstripe and the bumper was completed with two American flags! Laurie’s sons were happy with their creation. They had learned a lot about the importance of voting and one’s civic duties during the process of decorating the car. 

It wasn’t long before they learned about the dark side of politics. The first run-in came when Laurie’s oldest son was at work. While he was at work one day, someone put a power drill through one of his tires. He didn’t notice it until after he got him, and his parents were thankful that he didn’t have a blow-out on the freeway. 

That was the start of the harassment that the family endured throughout the fall and into early 2012. Those who supported the opposing party were not happy with the car and made it known. Among the things they endured was eggings and keyings of the car, and home break-ins.  Laurie and her family meant no harm and were just expressing their rights to in support of their candidate.

Even with the car under a cover, the harassment still continued. In summer 2012, the car had been sitting in with a cover for a few months. During the time it was sitting, the Buick’s engine had seized; it was no longer running. 

They knew that in order to stop the harassment, they had to get rid of the thing. After some discussion, they decided that they would donate it to us. 

Laurie explained the situation to Ruth. Ruth told them that we would take the car, engine seized and stickers included. She arranged for a home pick-up. When Laurie sent in the Buick’s title, she also included some photos of the car along with a letter that explained a little more about what her boys’ learned. It was an eye-opening experience that she hopes no one else has to go through. 

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