When Julian Smallbone arrived at work on Thursday morning at Huber Bannister Chevrolet in Penticton, he knew it was going to be a special day.
His car dealership was set to surprise a family with a vehicle that they would call their own at 2 p.m. And as the recipient of the vehicle entered the building, it was time to unveil the Christmas surprise.
A 2013 Dodge Caravan was given away by Smallbone, the general manager of the dealership, on Thursday (Dec. 23) after two weeks of receiving nominations from dozens of people across the city.
It was a Penticton mother of two kids who was selected by the dealership.
“We were excited to give away a car and make someone’s day,” Smallbone said shortly after he unveiled the surprise to the Penticton family.
“This is the difference of two kids being able to get to school easy next year and having to walk to school. They don’t live near the schools as they’re in two different parts of the town, so instead of having to walk to school, their mom can give them a lift and get around.”
The vehicle was decorated and contained holiday-themed presents hours before the family arrived at the dealership.
And as tears rolled down the faces of staff members and the new owners of the vehicle alike, it was clear that the community giveback on Thursday in Penticton was real.
“It made me feel good,” said Smallbone when asked about what he was thinking during the giveaway. “At the end of the day, I’m really grateful for everything we have, so I’m happy to be able to give back. We had over 50 emails from people and I wish I could have given everybody a car.”
Starting in early December, Huber Bannister Chevrolet launched a vehicle-giveaway campaign and accepted nominations from people until Dec. 21. It’s an initiative that Smallbone hopes will grow as years go on and that more businesses around Penticton will get involved in, he told the Western News.
The first few months of the vehicle’s expenses will be taken care of by Huber Bannister. Gas, insurance and the Caravan’s first oil change were included in Thursday’s giveaway.