TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s a gift that will keep on giving. A New Port Richey family received a life-changing surprise on Thursday morning.
Gabriel McClain, Larissa Lones and their three children are one of five families in the Tampa Bay area chosen to receive a vehicle right off the lot of a local dealership.
“New opportunities are opening for our family,” said Lones, through tears of joy.
The car not only gives them independence but it also opens new doors for better jobs and a more stable lifestyle.
Both parents have full-time jobs, but like many families this year, they are struggling financially. They couldn’t afford a car and depend on others to get to work, get their kids to school and run necessary errands.
“Not having that stress of depending on Ubers or relying on somebody else,” said McClain.
That stress is coming to a screeching halt thanks to local groups spreading joy this holiday season. Hyundai of New Port Richey, The Bullard Family Foundation, created by WWE superstar Titus O’Neil, and Metropolitan Ministries handed over a Hyundai Santa Fe to the family of five on Thursday morning.
“Very special to me because my mother didn’t have adequate transportation at all times when we were kids,” said O’Neil.
Through his foundation, he hopes to steer families like the McClain’s and Lones’s toward financial independence. Transportation, he says, is one of the key factors. His partners couldn’t agree more.
“The lack of transportation here in our area with no mass transit, if you don’t have a vehicle it’s tough to get around, it’s to get a job, it’s tough to keep that job,” said Scott Fink, Hyundai of New Port Richey CEO.
A difficulty that Lones and McClain know all too well and are happy to leave in the past.
“We’re beyond lucky, blessed is the word,” said Lones.