Chilliwack’s Rob Wight is getting a new sleigh for Christmas. And by sleigh we mean a Toyota Corolla, courtesy the annual Christmas Car Giveaway.
Several local businesses, including The Chilliwack Progress, come together each year to select a recipient of a totally reconditioned vehicle.
Wight was presented the car Monday morning in the parking lot of the Chilliwack Rona.
No one could tell how surprised he was because he was wearing a mask, but the single father of three said a reliable car will make a huge difference for his family.
“I had no idea this was going to happen, and it’s amazing,” he said. “The car I have now is at 256,000 kilometres and problems are starting to happen with it.”
Wight puts a lot of miles on his vehicle, working two jobs to support his family. He commutes daily to the Rona in the Clearbrook area of Abbotsford. He comes home and launches into his night gig delivering meals with Skip the Dishes.
“I put on 200 kilometres in a night sometimes just doing Skip the Dishes,” he said. “Plus there’s an hour round-trip driving to and from Rona. It all adds up.”
The 2009 Corolla he is receiving has been given a complete make-over with the help of Simpson Auto, Fix Auto, Napa Auto Parts, Big-O Tires and Valley Toyota.
Certified Auto Sound and Security contributed a backup camera and Bluetooth stereo, which really had Wight smiling because the radio in his other ride has been non-functional for two years.
Hub Barton Insurance is covering the coverage for six months.
“It’s not just work with the vehicle,” Wight said. “I’ve got kids in hockey and there’s a lot of back and forth with that. We can’t do as much with COVID going on, but usually in the summer I’m taking them on day trips to the beach or camping. We’re always using the car.”
Wight is not big on surprises or attention, and he had a hunch something was up when he was asked to go to a Rona location he doesn’t work at to sign for a package that he was told only he could sign for.
A tenuous story, but a necessary one and Wight thought it was a Christmas-gift-from-work scenario. Not until he was approached by Valley Toyota’s Niels Larsen did it all come together.
“I had no idea,” he said. “I really didn’t.”
The surprise is part of the fun for the businesses that pull this together. The Christmas Car Giveaway has been going on for 17 years. Valley Toyota has been a part of this for the last 10.
“When you’re face to face with them and see what it does for them, it really tugs on you a bit, you know?” Larsen said. “And the surprise part is just as much fun. It’s not always easy, especially with COVID, and everyone being cautious about what they’re doing and where they’re going. But when it works out and you blindside them with this generous gift, seeing their reaction is pretty memorable.”
Wight was nominated in a letter by his brother. It was tough, as it always is, selecting the recipient from a number of worthy candidates.
“Everyone deserves it and that’s the hard part, narrowing it down to one or two,” Larsen said. “Luckily it’s not just me or one other person making this decision. It’s a group reading each and every letter independently, and coming to our own conclusions on who should get the car. But we always seem to short-list the same people, and this year we feel we’ve picked someone who is really deserving.”
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