GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A Georgetown 16-year-old got the surprise of a lifetime and was moved to tears in front of family and friends on Good Friday.
Daniel Alcantar and his siblings lost their parents back in March of 2011 in what his sister described as them being in “the wrong place at the wrong time.” They were heartbroken, but a lot of what got Daniel through those hard times was memories of his dad in his Ford truck.
“I just remember going to our favorite little corner store,” Alcantar said. “I would be in the passenger seat with him he would be playing his CD’s and the music he had back in the early 2000s. It was good times listening to T-Pain and all them.”
Because it was so special to him, he planned to keep it and always called the truck his.
“He’s like, ‘my dad would’ve wanted it like this, my dad would’ve had it like this, my dad would’ve put this on it’ and everything has to do with his dad, so it means so much to him,” Elizabeth Montes, Alcantar’s sister said.
But three years ago those plans were foiled when it was involved in a wreck.
“That’s when I started to save my own money to fix it myself like how I wanted,” Alcantar said. He saved up $1,000 doing things such as selling candy at school.
Knowing his story, his mentor of five years, Amber Sladecek, had reached out to a donor with connections to Caliber Collision.
That donor paid $3,000 to the mechanic shop, to get the truck out of storage and helped connect Sladecek with Caliber Collision’s program, Recycled Rides. It started in 2012 with the goal of blessing recipients with their restored vehicles. While they mainly work with military families and give the vehicles to veterans, when Sladecek reached out to them, it was a definite yes.
“It was an immediate ‘you bet,’ we definitely wanted to be involved and it really means something to us to really give back like this,” said Jon Webber, the regional vice-president for the Central Texas area’s Caliber Collision stores.
“It’s got a lot of sentimental value to him and for us to be able to refurbish it and get it back to driveable condition to him to be his first vehicle, it just means so much to every single one of us.”
When Alcantar arrived at Caliber Collision on Friday, he thought he was just getting a tour of the facilities. As a car enthusiast, and as someone who wants to be a mechanic when he grows up, this wasn’t out of the ordinary for him, but he had no idea what was coming.
“I didn’t expect this at all,” he said. He walked into a room full of family, friends and teachers who waited anxiously for the reveal.
Sladecek spoke about how special he was and explained they wanted to do something that would impact his life in a positive way.
“We wanted to present this truck to you because we know you need good things in your life,” Sladecek told Alcantar, as his dad’s truck was driven right through the garage door.
“I was just shocked I was like it can’t be true, I didn’t think it was real and I just got really emotional,” he said.
Alcantar didn’t just leave with a truck, he was offered an entry-level position at Caliber Collision. “I haven’t even graduated and I already have a job offer,” Alcantar said laughing.
It’s been eight years since he’s seen his father, but his memory lives on through his brand new truck. “It’s special ’cause my dad had it, my dad drove it, I have a lot of memories with it.”
He’ll be putting those $1,000 he saved toward insurance for the truck and gas and hopes to get his learner’s permit this summer.