A 60-year-old woman who spent the last three months walking 12 miles home from work each day got the surprise of a lifetime — thanks to the generosity of some inspired coworkers.
Darlene Quinn, who, according to USA Today, works as a package handler for FedEx in Spartanburg, SC., used to drive to her early morning shift, which starts at 4 a.m.
That was before her car broke down three months ago. Unable to afford a replacement, Quinn started walking the long,12-mile journey to work — until she met Josh Lewis.
Lewis, who also works at FedEx, created a fundraising campaign for Quinn that quickly drew dozens of strangers in the community, as well as thousands of dollars. The campaign ended in a massive surprise last week, when Quinn was stunned to learn she'd been given a new car.
The heartwarming story started after Lewis noticed Quinn walking along the road one day. Looking to help out, he asked the 60-year-old — who had someone drive her in the mornings but was still walking home — if they could start carpooling.
But that didn't feel like a permanent fix, so Lewis decided to get some help. He launched a GoFundMe page for Quinn last month, with the idea quickly gaining plenty of local attention.
"For the last three months Darlene has been having to walk to and from work in order to support herself," the description for the campaign says. "When I say walk to and from work, I'm talking 12 miles just one way."
The campaign has now drawn in more than 120 donors and nearly $8,000. Within just a week, it had earned enough to buy Quinn her new car.
"It was amazing," Lewis told USA Today about the moment he surprised Quinn. "She just started bawling crying and saying how she can’t believe that this is happening to her."
The generosity didn't stop there either. Lewis also told USA Today that two local businesses decided to chip in —offering Quinn free oil changes and tire service.
It's clear from the campaign that Quinn made an impression on her community, as many said they'd seen her walking on the street each day.
"I've seen this lady walking up and down the highway carrying a plastic grocery bag several times lately and I assumed she was homeless," GoFundMe contributor commented. "Just goes to show you how we automatically judge and place people in categories they may not really be in. What you see and perceive to be fact isn't always the truth!!"
Quinn later wrote Lewis a thank you card for everything he's done, but he told USA Today he was just excited for the chance to help out someone so remarkable.
"I told her she’s just an inspiration," Lewis said. "I know I don’t think I would walk 12 miles just to go to work or to come home from work on a daily basis."