Friday Jan. 16 started off like any other work day for Twyla Hardie.
She arrived at work in the morning and set up behind the deli counter at Overwaitea, a position she’s held since September when she moved there from the front cash.
Then at lunch time she accompanied her manager Dwayne Westland to the bank, and that’s when her day went from ordinary to extraordinary.
“(After the bank) he said that he’s got to run to Ford to pick up a part for his car. So we’re just taking a walk and that’s when they sprung it on me,” Hardie recalled.
‘It’ being a red 2005 Ford Focus that Kicking Horse Ford had decided to give away to a member of the community.
“I cried. I was just floored. Everybody was standing there and a lot of the staff from Overwaitea was there. I was just crying and everybody was hugging me,” she said with a smile spread clear across her face.
“It was kind of surreal, I went there and won a car and then went back to work.”
Hardie was nominated to receive the car by a dozen individuals in the Ford giveaway. The local dealership received over 80 emails in support of 30 individuals while it was deciding who was going to be its lucky recipient.
“We retired one of our service loaners and were going to put it in the used car lot…we chatted about it and said, ‘you know what, why don’t we pay it forward and give a car away to someone who could use it,” said Ford’s Dan Maisonneuve.
Maisonneuve says that he and his wife Naomi abstained from the decision to award the car to Hardie. Instead, the rest of the staff at Ford examined the emails and nominations and chose the person that they felt could use it the most through an anonymous ballot.
“It was tough to narrow it down,” Maisonneuve said.
“There was a back story behind everyone’s (nomination) and that’s what we narrowed it down to,” Naomi said.
Hardie, who has two boys – Kadin, 10, and Rylan, 8 – says she was a long way away from being able to buy a car on her own.
“There really isn’t income to save for a car,” Hardie said, who also received six months worth of car insurance from Johnston-Meier.
Maisonneuve, having been overwhelmed with the response he has felt from the community, believes the car giveaway might be something the dealership chooses to pursue again in the future.
“Just doing and seeing the reaction of not only her but the rest of the people was worth it,” Maisonneuve said.
And the dealership couldn’t have picked a more grateful recipient.
Even a couple weeks after she rolled off the lot at Ford in her newly acquired Focus, Hardie and her kids remain on cloud nine. Kadin, as the older brother, has already done what older brothers tend to do and claimed the front seat.
The whole family is exceptionally grateful for their new ride.
“A heartfelt thanks to Dan and Naomi and Janice at Johnston-Meier,” Hardie said.
“Big thanks to them,” Rylan added with a grin.