It’s all in a day’s work at AMS Vans!
Proud mom Carol Coons was on her way from her Holly Hill, FL home to Pensacola, FL to celebrate her oldest daughter’s leave from the Marine Corps when the engine of her full-size, handicap accessible van blew, leaving her, her son, a daughter, and her dogs stranded more than 450 miles from home. Carol lost the use of her legs in a head-on car crash 30 years ago, and she uses a motorized wheelchair.
The van–Carol’s lifeline to the world–was towed to her daughter’s house in Cantonment, where a mechanic pronounced it “unfixable.” To make matters worse, her daughter’s car was stolen the next morning, leaving Carol and her two children with no financially feasible way to get home for three weeks–a serious problem because she had left her youngest daughter, Jennifer, at home with family friends so she wouldn’t have to miss school.
Carol’s plight got the attention of a local TV news station, and Fox 10 News in Pensacola aired the story.
Here’s where a lot of helping hands come in! Kathy Wetherington, a friend of Carol’s who saw the story, did a little research and went to the AMS Vans Facebook page, where she told us about Carol’s dilemma and asked if we could help get Carol, her son, and their pets home to Holly Hill. Since AMS Vans is in business to help, we jumped right in!
The next day, Monty, one of our company’s mobility professionals, was dispatched to Florida in an AMS Vans wheelchair accessible van to pick up Mrs. Coons and her family and drive them home. The ride took about seven hours, and Carol and her family arrived in safety and comfort. A couple of days later, we received this email:
Many thanks go out Ed, Monty and Olga at AMS Vans. It was such a Blessing that you brought me, my dogs and my son Kyle home to Holly Hill, Florida from Pensacola. We had been stranded there for three weeks, after the engine in my wheelchair van blew up and was deemed unrepairable. I have been a paraplegic for 30 years come January 2nd, and dependent on a wheelchair accessible vehicle to get around since. The cost for a new van is astronomical, and how I will ever replace it is beyond me. But getting home to my youngest daughter Jennifer has been my biggest concern, since my van quit running.
Sadly I was not able to get to my Marine daughters ‘Leave ceremony,’ which was our purpose of traveling to Pensacola. Her service to the United States, and that of my son Kyle’s as well, has been an honorable experience for our family. I am happy to have them back. I pray they can find employment in the near future and do not find returning to civilian life more difficult with the way the economy has become while they were on active duty.
Your company is a shining example of what “AMERICA” is supposed to be all about. People helping other people…I myself was raised to step up and lend a hand to those around me in need, and that is what I have always done, and have taught my children. Thankfully these values have not become non-existent. My faith in others has been immensely magnified by this experience.
Monty, our driver, was a very honorable and respectful gentleman to us. Your company is fortunate to have such a good quality man working for them. It was a long journey and I know how tired he must have become.
We stopped to eat at Zaxby’s on the way to Holly Hill and he would not let us pay for our meal. I cannot express in words how much it meant to us to have this kindness extended to us.
I was so happy to see my little girl Jennifer again. Being stranded for three weeks was stressful once my van engine blew. All I could think of is “how am I going to get back to my little girl?” She had stayed with a friend of the family in order not to miss any school.
My Marine daughter Krista drove out the 90 miles to pick us up. Becca and Kyle lifted my motorized wheelchair and laid it sideways in the back of her SUV, and brought us to her house. The following Sunday my daughter’s car was stolen; things became more trying, as at that point no one had transportation at all. I am pleased to report the police did locate her car, during a home burglary. The driver took the police on a high-speed chase as the other three perpetrators took off on foot. Her car was trashed inside and has damages to the outside. It will be a while before she gets it back as it is now a crime scene.
I am not good at asking people for help, not even for little things. However, as my disability keeps increasing with the years, I have learned to be more humble and less proud. I have always done the best I could to take care of myself and my children, family and friends and neighbors, and now I am a the point I must ask for help. Truly a humbling experience in life.
I thank God for you and your company and I will highly recommend your company to others. And when I am in the position to purchase another vehicle, it will be your company I will be working with.
Again, thank you, Olga [Olga Balakin–AMS Vans online inventory manager and clerk], for helping us make the arrangements to get from Pensacola to Holly Hill.
THANK YOU, ED [Ed Stout–AMS Vans logistics manager] for serving our country and for being a stand-up citizen and a compassionate man, willing to step up and help others selflessly and freely. I can only pray there were more people in this world that had such qualities and values.
AND MONTY…I have to tell you, I am one of the worst passengers on the planet. This is because I was a passenger when I was in a head-on auto accident in 1983, when my spinal cord was severed. But you, sir? Drove with such care, I only got startled a few times when we went over the cracks on the bridges. Thank you for your services and for your sacrificing your time for my family. I hope you made it back to your destination safely.
God Bless you all, and I pray you continue to be successful in your business.
Carol Coons (and family)
Thanks, Carol, and thank you, Kathy–the real heroine of this story! We were happy to help! That’s why we’re in business!