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An early Christmas gift

Residents ‘Pay it Forward’ and give Cody woman a car

On a frigid Friday in early December, a woman walked along a road in Cody, loaded down with bags of groceries, a gallon of milk in one hand and a gallon of water in the other. Driving by, Brook Grant of Cody noticed the woman, whom she had seen walking frequently, but only in the summer.

Grant pulled over and offered the woman a ride, and learned her story as they talked.

The woman is a single mother with a growing child, and she couldn’t afford a vehicle. Rather than complaining, the woman just accepted the situation and looked forward to the future.

“She’s a hardworking mom who is doing her very best,” Grant said.

She told Grant that they planned to camp all summer to save money and then purchase a car.

“After I dropped her off I couldn’t stop thinking about how positive she was and how polite her child was,” Grant recalled. “As I drove away, tears came to my eyes thinking about this lady.”

A few days later, after seeing the woman and her child walking again, Grant started a Facebook group called “Paying it forward.” On the page, she described the woman’s situation.

“I still think about her every time I get in my warm car or even walk out to get the mail and I am cold for the few seconds I am outside,” Grant wrote.

Grant and her husband, Keith, came up with a plan to buy the woman a car and invited Facebook friends to help.

“Can you imagine how happy she will be if we show up at her door with a car and the necessities she needs?” Grant wrote on Facebook.

Little did Grant know how quickly that hope would become a reality. Word quickly spread, and Grant soon received messages, phone calls and donations from Powell, Cody, Lovell and around the Big Horn Basin.

On Thursday afternoon — less than two weeks after she first offered the woman a ride — Grant handed her the keys to a car with a full tank of gas.

“She was really shocked,” Grant said. “She asked, ‘How many thank you cards do I need to write?’”

Grant was surprised by the whole situation, too.

“I definitely didn’t think that it would happen that fast,” Grant said.

Many of the donations came from people who have financial struggles of their own, she said. A $2 donation came from a little girl who told her mom she wanted to help.

They were able to purchase the car at cost from Midway Auto Sales in Lovell, operated by Grant’s brother-in-law, Ken Grant.

Donations also will go toward insurance payments, registration and fuel, Grant said.

Now, as she feels the cold sting of Wyoming’s wintry weather, Grant knows that the woman and her son are warm in a car of their own.

“That day, I just felt like I needed to pick her up, and I’m so glad I did,” Grant said.

With the whole story unfolding right before Christmas, Grant said this experience has added to her holiday joy.

When she was growing up, Grant was on the receiving end of Christmas generosity.

“We always had secret Santas and people helping us,” Grant said. “I couldn’t wait until I would have a turn to give back ...

“I just feel like we’ve had angels watching over my family my whole life, and now it’s my turn to help,” Grant said. “I always dreamt of being a part of something like this.”

A “Paying it Forward” account has been set up at First Bank of Wyoming, and Grant said the group will continue to help this woman and may expand the effort to help others, too.

“We’ll see where it goes,” she said.

Recalling the woman’s joy as she received the car she needed, Grant said without hesitation, “it’s definitely been the best Christmas I’ve ever had.”


  • posted by Lee Hubbell

    December 21, 2011 6:30 am

    God Bless you and all those that helped...THIS is the true Spirit of Christmas.

    A former Wyomingite

  • posted by Vicki

    December 20, 2011 11:58 pm

    It is so nice that people can help others. This is what I feel we are suppose to do here on this earth, is to help one another and serve each other. It was nice to see a lot of people help out this nice lady and help in getting her a car. I feel this is one of the reasons for the season. It is not only the spirit of Christmas, but if you take off the last syllable, it is the Spirit of Christ. He was our great example of service. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas. It was a priviledge to help get this lady and her son a car. It made my family feel so good to be able to help. Thanks for the neat article.

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