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Effort to secure used vehicle for teen ends up as new Fiesta
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Learning of his new car outside the Manteca Ford showroom, high school senior Christian Esquivel is noticeably touched as.

A caring teacher, a Manteca business owner, and a physician came  together to provide a “used” car for a high school senior who has been living on his own, getting good grades, and working three jobs after school in order to support himself.

During a mid-afternoon ceremony in the dealership show room Saturday, Manteca Ford owner Phil Waterford asked Christian Esquivel, 17, to focus his attention on an older Mercedes SUV parked outside the front windows, saying while it was old it was in pretty good shape and would get the teen from home to school.  Some five minutes later he changed his story to tell him the new Ford Fiesta parked in front of the old Mercedes was actually his new car. 

The Modesto-based Gregori High School senior’s math teacher, Lori Gaines, had launched a account to buy the youth a used car. The effort raised more than $6,000. Gaines said had been in search of a car dealer who might help in her quest to find something that was in the best working condition for the money – ultimately finding Phil Waterford in Manteca who also offered Esquivel a working internship to replace his three after school jobs. 

Waterford plays adult basketball three mornings a week at 5:30 a.m. in Ripon with a Modesto physician who he told of the plan to buy a car for the student.  Dr. Amrik Basi, owner of Elite Urgent Care, told Waterford to count him in on the purchase of a new car for Esquivel rather than a used vehicle. So, between his math teacher, Waterford and the doctor, the money was raised for a car for Esquivel. It was delivered during a showroom ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Ford dealership on North Main Street.

In recognition of the teacher, a Ripon solar company, Calsolar located on Wilma Avenue – presented the mother of three with a three day all expense paid Disneyland vacation for her entire family.  Sharyn McBride made the presentation.

It was also noted Gaines had recently given one of her kidneys to the mother of a student with a kidney capacity of only eight percent.  The mother was someone she hadn’t known in the past but giving her kidney was something she said she felt was necessary for her to donate to save a life. The surgery took over four hours, she said, and kept her in the hospital for four days. 

She said giving the kidney was founded in her strong faith – something God told her to do – “but it was the craziest thing yet that he has ever asked me to do,” she said 

She subsequently appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres “Game of Games” show and feared the 30-foot drop into the pit of slime awaiting her decent when featured on the program.

Esquivel, Gaines said, “is an amazing person – always jumping around – not just for me but for everyone.”

To contact Glenn Kahl, email