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.”