LAWRENCE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Lawrence County fast food worker got the surprise of a lifetime when a kind stranger gave him a new set of wheels.
Last week, Jeff Smith, 34, was shopping for groceries at the Dollar General on US-43 in Leoma. When he left, he noticed an older man standing near his car in the parking lot.
The two struck up a conversation which eventually turned to Smith’s 1991 Geo Storm.
“He asked if the car was reliable. I said, ‘It’s about as reliable as it looks,’ and it looked terrible,” Smith told News 2.
The car, which has 350,000 miles on it, has a cracked dashboard, no driver’s side window and has a hook and piece of string to keep the driver’s side door closed.
Smith said the man told him he needed a new car and asked him to follow him down the street.
“I thought he was trying to sell me a car or something,” admits Smith.
They pulled up to James Motors and the mystery man told Smith to wait outside.
“He comes back out and says, ‘How do you like that blue pickup?’ I said. ‘It looks great.’ Then he said, ‘Well, I bought it and it’s yours now,’” Smith recalled.
The kind stranger said he would like to remain anonymous and only asked that Smith “pay it forward.”
“He said someone did a good deed for him. He did this for me, and now it’s my turn,” Smith told News 2.
The man told Smith to pick up the truck when he had a day off then he left the car lot.
“I was thinking, ‘Is this real?’ My mind was blown,” he said.
Smith told News 2 he still wasn’t convinced it was real until a couple of days later when the owner of the dealership showed up at the fast food restaurant where he works to give him the title and keys to his 2001 navy blue GMC Sonoma, which had been purchased for $3,500.
“It’s just a blessing. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me,” said Smith.
He is still stunned by the act of kindness and is committed to doing something nice for someone else.
Smith said he wants to share his story to show others there are still good people in the world.
Some of Smith’s co-workers told News 2 it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.