By on November 25, 2015


I swear someone was cutting onions right next to me just now. 

A Utah high school custodian, whose broken-down car left him commuting two hours each way to work, was surprised by a mechanic who purchased and fixed a car for him with money collected from crowd funding.

Sean Merrill, who owns Nobori Auto near Salt Lake City, along with his wife, picked up Robert Ford last month when he was walking home late one night. Ford told the couple about his hardship and his commute, and Merrill said he was compelled to help.

“I think it’s important to take a step back and think about others and think about that they are a person just like you,” Merrill told KSL in Salt Lake City. “They go through the same struggles, maybe different experiences, but everyone needs help now and again.”

Merrill tracked down Ford after looking for him near the intersection where he met him and found his home.

“Robert has been in my thoughts in the days to follow that experience. This man is really trying to get back on his feet after life has thrown him some curveballs,” Merrill wrote.

On Nov. 22, Merrill surprised Ford at his home with the 1997 Nissan Maxima that he had purchased at auction and fixed. Merrill passed the car through emissions and safety.
On the GoFundMe page set up to buy Ford’s car, the Merrills said that money raised over the purchase price for the car will go to pay for Ford’s first year of insurance.

Photo courtesy Kathy Ford


About a month ago, this wonderful couple saw Robert walking home from work. They stopped and gave him a ride and In their words; “We couldn’t get him off our minds.” They set up a go-fund-me account and collected enough to “find Robert a ride” Sean Merrill is a mechanic, so he got to work and made sure Robert was taken care of. Here’s the wonderful outcome. Thanks to Sean and Darilyn Merrill, for their Christ-like charity!

Posted by Kathy Ford on Saturday, 21 November 2015


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18 Comments on “Utah Mechanic Buys, Fixes Car for High School Custodian Walking to Work (Video)...”

  • avatar

    Well done. Sean!
    As this is the season for giving thanks, I will try to do something for someone like Sean did.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Great T-Giving story, there are good, giving people out there, folks!

  • avatar

    Glad to see people still have a heart, great job by all involved.

  • avatar

    I’ve been involved in a few things like this , it’s a very nice thing to do indeed .


  • avatar
    Carlson Fan


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    There must be onions near me also.

  • avatar

    I would admire them even more had they done it anonymously.

    • 0 avatar

      I know I admired you more before you wrote that.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I don’t think I would have admired them more (what an incredible gesture!), but a simple picture with the car would have sufficed as opposed to a presentation video. I’m certain he is very appreciative of the incredible gift, but not perhaps of the public knowledge of his financial challenges.

        So I understand olddavid’s sentiment….

    • 0 avatar

      I am glad they posted it: this is a form of charity I had never thought about, it is something many of us can do, it meets a very real need, and touches people on a personal level.

      Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to get off of our butt to do the right thing.

  • avatar

    Very nice story. A ’97 Maxima doesn’t sound like much but it amazing how a car can change your life. And really nice how Mr Merrill used his car knowledge and skills to help someone in need, just pure charity in the best sense of the word. How many of us “car guys” would pick up a stranger, then actually make a difference in the stranger’s life? Well done Mr Merrill indeed.

  • avatar

    There have been quite a few times over the years when I helped out people who were in some difficulty because they just were not car “guys” (of either gender). Simple stuff, but it got them going again. I would bet that in situations like that, a sizeable number of those posting here would do the same.

    You do what you can – that’s the key. It’s not heroics – you help in a way that’s up your alley…to you, it’s nothing. To them, it’s like a miracle. That’s what this guy did.

    Now, that’s not to minimize Mr. Merrill’s actions – small business owner…shop to run, payroll to meet, mouths to feed. It’s the kind of guy he is – after all, how did he meet this man in the first place? Stopped to pick him up and give him a ride.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    At a high school I worked at the custodians were union workers who made far more than the teachers made.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a couple of teacher friends and they basically told me that the custodians ruled the running of the school. After curricular activities? Set up the OT for the custodian who had to be present. Need anything? Better go down an play nice. If you pissed them off by reporting them for anything, suddenly the supplies they were supposed to bring never materialize, or mandatory OT coverage would not be available.

      All that said, I don’t think this guy has that kind of job. It is touching to see somebody go out of their way and invest their own time and effort to help a fellow human (or animal for that matter). Most people can write a check. Few will give of themselves.

  • avatar

    A touching story!

    I’ve always been an advocate for this generation (95-99) of maxima as a durable beater that can take heaps of abuse. Rock solid engine and transmission, sturdy and simple suspension, and no really damning Achilles heels. The only thing that can really kill them is rust.

    • 0 avatar

      I have always liked them myself after driving a like-new black on black GLE and a slightly older/high mileage (by that time, was later in the 2000s) SE 5 speed also black on black leather. Easily my favorite FWD Nissan (including Infiniti, Datsun).

      I tried to trade my 95 Blazer 4D 4wd (that I hated because it spent 99.9% of its time with me parked with problems) for the high mileage SE (220k, Blazer had a pathetic 101k and was on its 2nd engine), but the Max was in the dad’s name (though he “gave” it to his adult son) and dad didnt go for it (smart of him, bad for me lol).

      Almost traded it for a 94 4.6L Thunderbird, similar (but much longer) story actually, though was a mother this time ha ha!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Wonderful story. This story reminds us of the true meaning of the holiday season.

  • avatar

    Ive loaned cars to friends, family members, and neighbors many times, and even to my boss one time (for like 3 months lol). I have also given a car to a friend that needed it, but it would make that Maxima seem like showroom condition compartively. I didnt buy the car for him, but it just ended up that I had bigger fish to fry and was in it for nearly nothing, so thats how it came about. I only bought it because I had a matching parts car lol.

    He ended up giving it back to me (several months later) after he overheated it horribly one night on the freeway and the oil light came on afterwards, so I gave it to my scrap guy just to get rid of it (very VERY beat up early 90s Mercury Sable with more miles than the space shuttle).

    We actually tried to pop its airbag by ramming the parts car, but with a lot less than all 6 firing, it simply couldnt go fast enough in the short space alloted to hit it hard enough to trigger it (neither car’s bumper cracked!!), and it stalled after the first attempt (maybe out of fuel, tank was dry), so I gave up, got my battery out and called dude to come get em.

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