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Giving with no expectations

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POSTED May 4, 2013 12:54 a.m.

    “I am not a hero. I’m a local business owner who is struggling like most business owners in one of the worst economies our nation has ever experience.” I shared with the audience that God has put something heavy on my heart and that there is something special that I must do. I turned to two of our wounded warriors, Christopher Braley and Jose Jaurequi and presented them both envelopes. I informed them that enclosed in these envelopes were checks payable to them, and that they could do whatever they wanted with the money. I told them both the same things individually, “thank you. I’m proud of you, and we love you.” After embracing these gentlemen from this touching moment I told the crowd, “Well I’m out of money, but I still have good credit” the crowd laughed with tears of joy. I felt like half the weight that was on my shoulders was gone.

    Next, I invited Manteca’s own Vietnam Veteran and war hero Sgt. Bob Gutierrez to the stage. I asked the audience to help me present this brand new Ford Fusion to our hero. Simultaneously my son, Phil Jr., was driving this brand new, tuxedo black Ford Fusion SE that was glistening and detailed to perfection to the front of the stage. The crowd went crazy!

    The defining moment happened as Sgt. Gutierrez, my son and I were standing next to his new vehicle and people were admiring his new car almost in disbelief, congratulating, thanking, and hugging him. I couldn’t help but to notice a man that was approximately 30 yards from me as I looked through the sea of people headed in our direction. This middle aged man was wearing aviator style glasses, as the crowd was moving forward he just continued to stand and stare. I cautioned my son and informed him, anytime you have a crowd this large “there’s always one in every crowd”. After a few minutes, while a woman was trying to thank my son and I for what we had done, I informed her “I was just the messenger, all praises go to God!” This man swiftly made his way over to me in a very intimidating way, he said to me “Mr. Waterford! I gotta tell you something. I’m a Chevy man! And I have driven Chevys all my life, but you know what? From now on... I’m buying Fords! And I’m buying them from your dealership!” Then he took his glasses off his face, looked me dead in the eyes and said “that was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” He then extended his hand to me and said “God Bless you!”

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