The 95-degree heat was blistering in Rockwall, Texas, earlier this month. But Justin Korva didn’t let it deter him.
The Taco Casa restaurant employee was on his typical walk to work when Andy Mitchell, a local businessman, spotted him alongside the road. Mitchell asked the 20-year-old if he needed a ride.
It was a carpool experience he’ll never forget.
“Meet my friend Justin!” Mitchell later wrote in a Facebook photo caption. “He told me he walks three miles to work and home every day.”
Yep, that’s right. Without the funds to buy a vehicle, Korva walked three miles in the Texas heat — each way — in order to earn a paycheck.
Mitchell’s photo quickly began making waves in the Rockwall community.
In just a few days, hundreds of likes, shares, and interest in helping Korva filled the post’s comment section.
That’s when folks jumped in to act.
“I felt compelled to do something,” says Danny Rawls, general sales manager at Toyota of Rockwall.
Rawls learned that his friend, restaurant owner Samee Dowlatshahi, had set out a donation box for Korva at his local Italian bistro, CBS News reported. According to The Independent, that box had garnered a whopping $5,500 in just two days, from patrons looking to help Korva get a car.
Rawls chatted with his boss at the dealership to see if they could get the price down on a vehicle for Korva using the funds raised at Dowlatshahi’s restaurant. His boss liked the idea.
On June 23, the team at the dealership and other community members surprised Korva outside Taco Casa with a 2004 Toyota Camry.
“Justin, you can’t imagine all the people who wanted to help you,” Mitchell said at the surprise event. “So, instead of walking to work, buddy, you’re driving this car from now on.”
The folks in Rockwall had raised enough money for the car, insurance for a year, two years’ worth of oil changes, and a $500 gas card.
“Are you serious?” an emotional Korva asked, giving away hugs and wiping away tears.
It may seem like a grand gesture. But the motive behind the gift was a pretty simple act of kindness, if you ask Jason Kirksey.
“Sometimes when you see a need, you try and fill that need,” says Kirksey, internet sales director at the dealership.
There are millions of Justins out there this very moment, fighting uphill battles to make ends meet.
We may not all have the power to give away cars, but we all have the power to chip in and make a difference when it counts.
After all, finding the simple ways you can help can counter the false idea that the bad outweighs the good out there.
“The world is not that bad — if you look around and you find the good things to focus on,” says Kirksey, applauding his community in Rockwall. “If you focus on the good things, the bad things seem not so bad.”