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Waterfords come to aid of girl struck by pickup
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Recovering at home, Nikka Perez, 11, was presented with a number of gifts by Manteca Ford owner Phil Waterford including an Apple Minnie iPad to help with her school work. He also arranged for a tutor to come to her home to keep her up on her sixth grade lessons. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Nikka Perez was made to feel like a princess Thursday afternoon when Manteca Ford owner Phil Waterford and his son Phil Jr. arrived at her Stewart Street home.

The Waterfords first sat and talked with the 11-year-old girl who had been struck by a pickup truck in the 700 block of East Yosemite Avenue nearly three weeks ago.  

Phil had planned to pick up a hand-held shower sprayer that he heard the Lincoln School sixth grader needed.  A Manteca hotel had already anonymously donated a shower stool that would allow Nikka access to the tub with her injured leg that had been shattered in the hit and run incident.

As Waterford and his son were leaving the home after their chat, Nikka asked if they were coming back.  She said she hoped they would return soon.  And return they did about an hour later with a shower sprayer that Phil quickly installed.  When he was done his son went back to their car at the curb and brought in a basket of “girly things.”

That wasn’t all; there was a special gift that he felt would help with her school work – an iPad Mini – bringing ear-to-ear smiles to her face.  Tina Tinoco from Waterford’s dealership had selected the make-up and nail polishes that Nikka received.

The girl’s mother Rosie Castalano and a younger brother watched as the 11-year-old showed surprise with the gifts that were being showered upon her.  She told Waterford that she had no idea when she would be able to return to school.

Not a problem, Waterford said, because he had already made arrangements for a tutor to go to her house every day of the week to make sure she was kept up with her studies.   She had mentioned earlier that she wants to be a teacher herself some day.

Phil Jr. is the Internet tech at his Dad’s dealership. He was right there to set up her new iPad making sure she understood how it worked and noting that she could probably use it at school.

By the expressions on her face, Waterford had done exactly what he had set out to do.