For many cities in the United States, it can be extremely challenging to get from place to place without a car. Buildings are spread far apart and public transit is unreliable. If your car breaks down, it can be a huge hassle—you’ll want to get a mechanic working on it right away.
Ernestina Nunez, a high school janitor who had recently moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, didn’t have a car, but she passed past Spooner’s Tires and Auto every day as she walked to work. One day, the shop’s owner, Richard Newbury, noticed her crying as she walked past. He decided to approach her, and when he did, he learned Nunez’s incredibly sad story.
Nunez’s son, Daniel, had served in the military and developed post-traumatic stress disorder. She thought he’d get better eventually—but years passed and he still wasn’t in a good place.
Daniel committed suicide one year prior to Nunez’s move to St. Petersburg last year. Her grief was almost unbearable, but she kept working because she had two other children to support. Some days were so difficult for her that she thought about committing suicide herself.
Having been homeless and gone to prison before, Newbury is no stranger to tough times. So, when Nunez told her story, he knew he needed to help out. He told Nunez to stop by every day to talk to him. He knew that she needed a friend by her side and he didn’t want to disappoint.
Talking to her helped a lot—but Newbury’s ultimate act of friendship came in gift form. He asked Nunez if she wanted a car for $600, but she refused because she didn’t have the money. He lowered the price down to $400, but she still didn’t have enough.
So, he decided that he didn’t need the money and offered up the car for free. Nunez thought that this was literally unbelievable. So Newbury booted up Facebook Live and started recording:
It took over 12 minutes to convince her that this was not a joke, and even then, she kept trying to give it back to him. Newberry, who was still looking for the title, told her:
“Merry Christmas. Take the car with you. If they say anything just park it here.”
Despite this all taking place in August, the “Merry Christmas” comment was still appropriate. Newberry has a long history of giving on that holiday.
“At Christmas time, I spend $2,000 on random people. So we’re starting an early Christmas. It’s not much but it’s a car… It’s not coming back,” said Newberry in the video he posted on Facebook.
The following Saturday, Newbury found the title and Nunez stopped by to pick it up. Having a car is sure to make traveling much easier for her—and now she knows a great mechanic that she can rely on whenever it breaks down.
Newberry’s kindness is incredible, going out of his way to help somebody he barely knew. Out of the goodness of his heart, Newberry created a GoFundMe campaign to help Nunez pay for gas, insurance, and other expenses, and many have been moved to help.