Try though he might, no present from Santa Claus will ever top the one Sharon Jacobs received this year from a Clinton Township collision shop.
For the second year in a row, Jim’s Collision Shop, in association with the Bath City Business Consortium chapter of BNI, set out to make one deserving family’s Christmas that much brighter with the donation of a refurbished car.
With more than a dozen families nominated for the car, Jim's owner Paul Kowalski said the only fair way to select this year’s recipient was to pull the name out of a hat.
"We had 15 potential recipients – all needy families. It was wonderful to draw Mrs. Jacobs' name," Kowalski said.
Even with the keys in hand Wednesday night, Jacobs said she was still finding it difficult to believe the fully refurbished 2004 Chrysler Sebring was hers.
“You hear about things like this happening on the news and you think how wonderful it is that people can be so giving, but you never think you’re going to be the one,” the Detroit resident said. “Now it will be my story. I know someone who reached out to help when I didn’t ask.”
When her car broke down three months ago, Jacobs was unable to afford the repairs. Since that time, she has had to rely on the bus and availability of friends and neighbors to travel to and from work, run errands and take her mother and husband, who is disabled, to various doctor’s appointments.
She never imagined her 20-minute drive to work would become an hour-and-a-half bus trip.
“When I would walk from the bus stop, some days it seemed like I was never going to get to work,” Jacobs said. “And sometimes I would work a different shift and I couldn’t afford to take a cab. This is going to be a lifesaver.”
Kowalski, along with members of the Bath City Business Consortium, presented the key and a $100 gas card to Jacobs Wednesday at Jim's South Gratiot location.
"I wish you many, many miles of safe driving," Kowalski said, adding jokingly, "but if you should have an accident, you know where to come."
While the Clinton Township location only opened in 2011, Kowalski said the Christmas car donation has been a longstanding tradition at the Detroit shop.
"It's difficult out there for a lot of families," Kowalski said. “I wish we could do more but we try to find one person in need each year and make their Christmas a little better."
Ernie’s Auto Parts of Harrison Township donated the car, while Jim’s Collision Shop returned it to working order.
“This is the best present I have ever received,” Jacobs said. “No one is going to top this, this year. No one is going to top this probably ever.”