Your Feel-good Thanksgiving Story: Repo Man Has Second Thoughts, Pays Off Elderly Couple's Buick
Repossessing cars is what Jim Ford does for a living. Getting shot at while hooking up tow chains and being threatened with tire irons might have hardened another man, but Ford, 41, who owns Illini Recovery in Belleville, Illinois, isn’t that other man. He understands what the people whose cars he takes are going through and tries to make it a little easier. Instead of sneaking away with their ride, he knocks on doors, tells the debtors what’s going on and gives them a chance to retrieve personal items.
As Ford told the Belleville News-Democrat, “I may be getting soft in my old age but you get more done with kindness.”
Ford ended up doing a lot more than just letting Stanford and Patty Kipping, of Red Bud, get their personal items from their car. Kipping is 82 and his wife is 70 and recent increases in the cost of their prescriptions and other bills put a dent in their fixed income, causing them to skip several $95 monthly payments on their used 1998 Buick. After speaking with them, Ford contacted their bank and tried to work out a revised payment schedule on their $2,501 debt for them, but the financial institution said no, so on the hook the car went.
He did his job but he wasn’t happy about it. This repossession gnawed at his conscience. “When I got home that night, I said to myself, ‘They are a real nice elderly couple. I gotta do something. I can’t just take their car,’” Ford said.
He set up a GoFundMe page and spread the word around the repo community. Apparently, Ford is not the only repo man with a heart of gold. His colleagues ended up raising over $3,500 in less than a day and Ford paid the bank off.
That wasn’t the end to Ford’s charity. He and a friend, Tom Williams, also repaired a broken headlight, topped up the radiator, changed the Buick’s oil, detailed the car and tires, and towed the Buick back to the Kippings. By then, the couple knew that Ford was returning their car but they didn’t know he’d paid off the note nor did they expect an envelope with $1,000 in cash along with a frozen turkey for the holidays, courtesy of one of Ford’s co-workers.
After Ford unhooked the Buick, Stanford Kipping, a retired dock worker, said, “I got up this morning and I looked up at the sun and I said, ‘I hope we get our car back.’ It’s just unbelievable.”
“It was a miracle come true. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” said Mrs. Kipping. “It’s like a miracle. God has answered our prayers, we’ve been blessed. There’s so many good people in the world and all we hear about is the terrorists and everybody fighting and killing each other but there are so many good people… like Jim.”
As Ford told the Kippings that they owned the car free and clear and then handed a very surprised and grateful Patty Kipping the cash, a neighbor put the turkey on their porch.
“Oh my God,” Patty exclaimed, “It looks like a brand new car.”
“We cleaned it up,” Ford replied sheepishly, “A little bit.”
Now that they have their Buick back, the Kippings will no longer have to rely on Mr. Kippings’ daughter to run errands. Though they are reaching the end of their driving years, for now, having their own car means a lot of independence.
Patty Kipping told the Belleville News-Democrat, “We don’t go too far because our driving abilities might be coming to an end, but we do go up town.”
[Image source: Belleville News-Democrat/ YouTube]
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a happy Thanksgiving full of gratitude and joy. Now go do something nice for someone, everything else is commentary.
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