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Friends chip in to get young Vernon woman a car for birthday

Left speechless by gift

Friends and family got together to spring a birthday surprise on a young Vernon woman, Wednesday.

Mikayla Rothwell hasn't had a car in years, and has been walking across town and back to her two jobs at House of Dwarves daycare and Starbucks, often in blazing heat, and sometimes late at night.

Rothwell recently started the second daycare job as she's working towards getting her early childhood education certificate.

That's when friend Stacey Gruen organized a surprise to help her friend get around.

Gruen started a private Facebook group of friends and family, who secretly chipped in money to buy and insure a car for Mikayla, whose 27th birthday was celebrated on Wednesday.

The 2006 Suzuki Aerio has been around the block a few times, has a quarter of a million kilometres on it, and has even survived a collision with a moose. But it will provide newfound freedom and mobility for the young woman.

Dad Kevin Rothwell, wife Dar, and brothers Connor and Kolton all contributed, even though most haven't been working since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Other friends also chipped in, and seller Michael Bellamy even slashed the price of the affordable wheels by almost half to help make the surprise happen.

"It's not a lot, but it's new to her," said Kevin, who announced the gift over a loudspeaker while her brother drove up into the driveway.

Dad Kevin called it the "birthday edition of The Price is Right," adding: "Come on down, you've got a brand new to you car!"

There were tears as the young woman realized what was going on, and she could barely contain her emotions as she thanked everyone at her birthday gathering for the gift.

"That's the second time I've cried today," she said... "speechless."



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