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Following the free cars


(ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH) A little block of wood. Four wheels that turn. A window big enough to put your finger through and imagine that you own.

In this episode of Utah Caring Stories, I followed the journey of cars from the Tiny Tim Toy Foundation, the largest car maker in all of Utah. They have made and given away for free over a million cars around the world. Alton showed me the production improvements that streamlined the process. “That was our first Jeep. It took 11 cuts on the band saw. We need to do 1 cut. So, this is the Jeep. The Jeep Wagoneer.”

Seeing the cars being made by volunteers is a fun experience. The cost of shipping these cars can be a financial drain for this non-profit. I’ve been able to help by placing them in the hands of people that I know are traveling to distant lands with kids in need. Bruce and Karen Powell graciously delivered cars to Guatemala. All I asked was for pictures and the chance to sit down with them and have them tell me about the experience.

Bruce told me; “We were going to end up in a village above Antiqua, Guatemala. Working on a school. We ended up passing out a car to each one of the kids in the school.”

With a wide grin and a laugh, Karen exclaimed; “Probably one of my favorite pictures is a little pre-school girl. She’s sitting and it’s almost like she has a dolly because she is cradling her car. That was really sweet.”

As we looked at the pictures together Bruce gave me the background on a picture with a number of boys in a circle with their new cars; “It started with about 4 of them and they would spread their legs until they touched each other. Creating a kind of arena for these cars. Vroom Vroom and then they would actually crash into each other.” It seems that demolition derby has international appeal.

Bruce got a bit emotion as he described the joy that these little handmade wooden cars from Utah created; “This is for some kids the only thing that they’ll ever own until they become adults. When you have nothing, a little car like this can mean I have ownership in something and I have something I can play with.”

The Powell’s have gone on a number of humanitarian trips. When I asked them why they do that Bruce stated simply; “It give you reality. It shows you how wonderful people are. How loving they can be when they have nothing and for me it gives me great hope and trust in humanity.”

These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

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