Teri Vance: Carson City rallies for Christmas miracle
What started off as a calamitous holiday season, has turned into a Christmas miracle for one Carson City woman.
Tammy Hewlett was devastated when her car was stolen just days after Thanksgiving.
Not only did she lose her only vehicle, but she lost her livelihood as a driver for Uber and Lyft.
“It wasn’t just a car. It was my freedom, my livelihood, my everything,” she told me at the time. “They have no idea what they took.”
But Tammy’s despair has transformed to celebration this week as Carson City Toyota helped her get into a 2014 Toyota Venza at a deep discount. “It’s a beautiful vehicle,” she said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s going to be awesome for my passengers. I can’t wait to start driving.”
When her all-wheel-drive 2008 Honda CR-V was stolen, she still owed more on the car than it was worth. Her friend set up a Go Fund Me to help cover the difference.
She received more than $2,000. But the support she’s received has been much more than financial.
“So many people reached out in so many ways to see what they could do to help,” she said. “I can’t even believe how nice people have been.”
She lists them off — Daniel Elliott at the dealership, the representative at Christensen Automotive who offered to do the inspection on her car for Uber and Lyft at no charge, the teller at Great Basin Credit Union who has helped her through the loan process.
The list goes on, including friends, family and strangers. On Tuesday she went into Paradise Salon for an eyebrow wax and wasn’t charged for the procedure.
“I just started crying,” she said. “I can’t speak highly enough about everybody.”
She’s still working on some logistics — insurance, registration, snow tires and such — before she can get back on the road and back to the job she loves.
“I can’t wait to get back out there,” she said.
She hopes to start driving again before Christmas — one year since she started on Dec. 23.
A popular driver, Tammy’s customers rate her 4.98 stars out of 5 on Uber and 4.99 on Lyft.
She drives in Carson City, Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Reno.
She said her mental health improved immensely after starting her career as a driver.
“If I thought my faith in humanity was restored after driving for Uber and Lyft, this has been even more eye-opening,” Tammy said. “I feel changed as a human being. I’ve never felt this grateful to people, and it’s about much more than the car.”
She’s even let go of her anger at the thief, who has yet to be caught.
“I forgive him, I really do,” she said. “It’s out of my hands. It’s in God’s hands.”
And she has a new outlook on this season.
“It’s a very good Christmas.”
To help Tammy offset remaining costs, go to http://www.gofundme.com/local-hero-needs-a-hero-this-holiday.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.