Stranger's generosity means Valley man will get service dog

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QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- Adam Phillips has had his heart set on a service dog for years now. It's a wish that became a reality over the weekend when an anonymous stranger stepped forward with a generous gift.

Adam, 20, has a rare neurological disease called Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis. He's had a dozen surgeries and is unable to walk on his own.

His condition prevents him from doing simple things, like picking up items he drops.

A couple of years ago his family realized a service dog could provide the everyday help he needs.

"If I drop something on the floor he'll be able to pick it up and he'll be able to pull me over inclines, long distances," Adam said.

He found a yellow lab service dog to suit his needs in New Mexico, but "Scout," as he's called, will cost $6,000.

"It hasn't been easy, my husband is in construction so that hasn't been the best place to be the last couple of years," said Adam's mother, Stephanie Phillips.

The family tried online fundraising and applied for grants, but neither path was successful.

So last Saturday they planned a car wash at a local Arby's and got the word out a few days before in a newspaper story.

The car wash started off slowly.

"Nobody was coming and then a guy pulled up in a truck and he said, 'I don't want my truck washed but this is for you,'" Stephanie said.

He handed her an envelope and went to wish Adam a Merry Christmas.

"I started counting and counting and counting and it was just $100 bill after $100 bill," Stephanie said.

The envelope contained $2,000, an amount that brought Stephanie and her husband, Tim, to tears.

The man who delivered it refused to give his name.

"I have never met the man before, I asked him his name and he just waved me off," Stephanie said.

Adam calls him a "heavenly messenger."

The money will allow them to put a down payment on Scout and pick him up on Christmas Day.

Adam can't wait.

"I'm really excited," he said. "I've waited a long time."

"Thank you from the bottom, bottom, bottom of our hearts, we could not make this happen on our own," Stephanie said.

The family continues to raise money through a website to eventually make a final payment on Scout.

You can also contact the Laughing Eyes Kennel directly.