Feb 09 2011
As far as my husband and I have come in our lives – gotten our educations, own a home, have an adopted son – none of it has come by easily or cheaply. I paid off my student loans only 10 years ago at the age of 42, and remember times during my struggle to finish college and grad school when I was down to my last couple of pieces of bread and peanut butter, even though I was working two jobs. But I was too proud to ask my parents for money. There were several times when I recall an “angel” in the form of a friend had intervened just at the right moment and sent me a check or slipped me a $20 bill, getting me through.
One afternoon, after a play date, we heard that the mom of my son’s best friend had just gotten her car repossessed, and we felt sad and very anxious for her. A single parent of three young children, she depended on that car to get to her job as an ER nurse, to get her kids to school – essentially to live independently. No car meant no job, which meant possibly losing her apartment and ending up in a homeless shelter. We have always known her to be a good mother and responsible person to her commitments and we knew the loss of her car was not from carelessness or overindulgence.
Even though my car was just a couple of years old, my long commutes to Pasadena for my work were taking a toll on my back and I was looking to upgrade to something with more back support. I was not in a hurry to do this, wanting to get a little more life out of this current Ford, but it had been crossing my mind. That evening after dinner, I turned to my husband and said, “Is there any reason at all that we shouldn’t donate my car to charity for to benefit someone like our son’s best friend’s mom?” His face lit up and had that grin that tells me we were both on the same page. He said, “Absolutely no reason at all.” We were referred to a donate car program known as Cars 4 Causes because their Cars 4 Caring program has a reputation of making sure that car donations get into the hands of those most in need.
Sure, we could have sold that car and pocketed the $20K. But the truth is, we are doing fine. And given that we are older parents who most likely will not live long enough to be grandparents, we didn’t want to miss the experience of being the ones who could give what it takes to help someone get through. Giving a car to charity that will allow someone like our son’s best friend’s mom to not have to worry about a car payment for the next 7 years or so, well, that was exactly the kind of “angels” we wanted to be.