Feel-Good Friday: Extreme Generosity

Amid the myriad newsletters and e-mail lists that I promptly delete from my inbox everyday, I stumbled upon this wholesome story, one that evaded swift deletion and digital oblivion.  A seventeen-year old Chick-fil-A employee won a car in a company Christmas raffle, and promptly gave it to her nineteen-year old coworker.  The coworker had to bike to work every day, adding several hours to her daily workday (though no doubt keeping her in excellent shape).

It’s a life-changing act of generosity, and the kind of thing that always seems to be attached to Chick-fil-A.  It’s amazing how an overtly Christian establishment with a strong commitment to quality and good treatment breeds more of the same.  I needn’t list the many examples of Chick-fil-A employees doing good things—we’ve all heard dozens of such stories already.

Imagine if every company ran along similar principles.  Sure, we’d pay a premium for better service and quality, but it would surely be worth a few extra pennies for happiness and hard work.  And to see a seventeen-year old—Ms. Haley Bridges of Appleton, Wisconsin—make such a gesture is particularly powerful.  Perhaps we could chalk it up to the idealism (or cluelessness—it’s a car!) of youth, but I think Ms. Bridges fully appreciated the sacrifice of her generosity, and what it would mean for her friend.

The gift of a car—at least in the case of this nineteen-year old recipient—is truly life-changing.  The young lady, Hokule’a Taniguchi, made this statement to the local news affiliate in Wisconsin (quotation c/o The Blaze):

“I really just started crying, because I was so happy, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this is real!'” Taniguchi recalled of the moment she realized she would have a new car. “Now I can go grocery shopping. I can, like, go to work, like, five minutes before now instead of, like, two hours earlier just to get here on time. There’s a million more opportunities and possibilities for me now!”

Simply having transportation opens up many possibilities.  My younger brother—a financial guru—recently told me that for poorer families and individuals, purchasing a vehicle is the single most important decision one can make, as so much of one’s livelihood hinges on the reliability of that vehicle.  Many of the working poor make poor car-buying decisions—buying overly-expensive vehicles, buying vehicles that are flashy but not reliable—that leave them literally and financially stranded.

Most readers will appreciate that maintaining and operating a vehicle is expensive, but there are ways to cut down on those costs.  My younger brother does a great deal of his own work on his vehicles.  I haven’t gotten as advanced as him by a long shot, but I always change my own filters, headlights, and other smaller sundry repairs, and he often changes my oil with oil and filters I purchase myself.

My 2017 Nissan Versa Note was inexpensive—I paid for it with cash—but its smaller size does mean that some components cost more (my guess is that smaller parts are more specialized) than similar parts for my 2006 Dodge Caravan.  An engine air filter for my Dodge would maybe cost me $10, tops, but usually $5-7.  An air filter for my Nissan runs around $18.  The Nissan’s fuel efficiency is over 50% greater than the Dodge, though, so I make up some of those increased parts costs in fuel savings.  But with the CVT transmission, I have to flush and replace the transmission fluid every fifty-to-sixty thousand miles.  That’s expensive (around $200-300), but one of the only things I’ll take exclusively to the dealership to handle (Nissan’s are infamous for their Jatco transmissions, which tend to fail, partly because owners don’t know that a continuously-variable transmission requires replacing the transmission fluid, whereas traditional transmissions tend to avoid replacing that fluid).

But I digress.  From the article, Ms. Taniguchi sounds like she won’t squander Ms. Bridges’s act of incredible—extreme!—generosity.  If my assessment is correct, this car truly will open up new vistas and opportunities for her, freeing up the time for relaxation, study, a side hustle, self-improvement, and the like.

Thank you, Ms. Bridges, for such a beautiful display of Christ’s Love.

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