Car dealership’s surprise move puts mom on road to success

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Shamonte Johnson had no idea when she arrived at Victory Chrysler Dodge in KCK that she was in for a surprise. But within minutes of arriving, she was letting out screams of happiness as owner Eric Gentry showed her the Hyundai he was giving the young mom and her three children.

When FOX 4 Problem Solvers first met Shamonte a week earlier, she was in tears because she was stuck with a seriously troubled car that she paid Rick's Auto Outlet $3,200 for. She discovered the problems after having owned it less than a week.

"I can't fix the car because I don't have the money," said Shamonte, who had emptied her bank account buying the car.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers learned about Shamonte from Sister Berta at Operation Breakthrough. She asked us for our help and we asked Gentry, the owner of Victory Automotive. He agreed to repair Shamonte's crippled Chrysler for free.

But after a few days in his shop on State Street, it was painfully clear the Chrysler had serious issues.

"We replaced the water pump. We replaced the timing belt and then we uncovered that it had basically a bad engine. One of the cylinders was bad and it would have to have a new head put on," Gentry said.

Gentry knew the wisest move was to put Shamonte in another car that would be more safe and reliable and wouldn't need thousands of dollars in repairs.

That was surprise. Victory Automotive gave Shamonte the keys to a Hyundai with all wheel drive. And that's not all.
The car came packed with food and toys for Shamonte and her children. In fact, the Victory Chrysler Dodge is the only dealership FOX 4 Problem Solvers knows of with a food pantry on its lot.

It was a moment of kindness that reduced this young mom to tears.

She grew up in foster care and has been working toward her GED and a certification as a nursing assistant, wanting to give her children a better life than the one she had.

For her, this car is more than just transportation. It's a good start on the road to success.