Former homeless family given car to get back on the road

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A Valley family fell on hard times but didn't look for a handout.

Now, some groups are offering them a helping hand to get back on the road.

Pablo Garcia worked as a meat cutter at Safeway for more than two decades, but a medical emergency forced him off the job.

"He's always worked really hard for us," said Garcia’s wife, Monica. "He's the provider for this family and he's our rock."

No income meant they had no way to pay the rent and the couple and their children got evicted.

"We just didn't have the means, no more paychecks coming in, and got behind," Monica Garcia said.

They ended up homeless without a car.

"That's one of the hardest things that you don't realize when you don't have a vehicle is the amount of groceries you can carry home," Pablo said.

"We have to take everybody with us because then we can get more groceries," Monica said.

But a funny thing happened when the bottom fell out.

"It brought us together closer as a family," Monica said.

"We haven't had a car, but we manage, we manage," Pablo said. "We got around it. It's just something you have to do."

The union got Pablo his job back and he hopped on a bus every morning to get there.

"I leave two hours just so I won't be late," he said. "I take two buses."

A shelter, Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, took the Garcias in and that's where the story of the family without a car took another turn.

"They knew we needed a car still and they said there's an application thing, we're going to have you fill it out," Monica explained.

On Thursday, the Garcias were given a newly refurbished vehicle made possible through Geico, Caliber Collision and the national Recycled Rides program.

"Oh man, it's unbelievable," Garcia said. "No way did I expect anything like this."

"It's going to change our lives," one daughter said. "I'm just so happy."

But this is not one of those stories where the hero rides off into the sunset.

"We're going to go get groceries to be honest with you," Pablo said.

Because Pablo Garcia is no cowboy. He's a meat cutter put to life's grinder.

"My bad experience actually has so much good," he said.

He's living proof that you can come out on the other side with hard work and some helping hands.

"For all these people to come together just for us," Monica said. "We did not expect this at all."

"Thank you," Pablo said. "Life's going to be so much better."