Elementary School Custodian Gifted a New Car After Traveling 2 Hours by Bus Every Morning
After lending his 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity to a production studio, Vadel Gray crashed his car, and couldn't track down parts to replace it.
This elementary school custodian used to take two buses and two trains to work every morning, but on one fateful Wednesday afternoon, he got to drive home.
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44-year-old Vadel Gray of Atlanta used to drive to work at the Dunwoody Elementary School every morning in his 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity, a car so distinctive that a production studio asked to borrow it briefly while filming of "Miracles from Heaven" — starring Jennifer Garner — last year.
But Gray told InsideEdition.com that he crashed the car in April. When he attempted to get it fixed, he found no repair shop could provide parts for such an outdated vehicle.
So he was forced to rely on public transportation to get to school every morning, a four-hour round trip.
But that was until last Wednesday, when Dunwoody Elementary School Principal Jennifer Sanders was giving him a ride to a school event off campus.
"When she pulled into the parking lot, I saw people with banners," Gray told InsideEdition.com. "They were looking at me, getting out of the car."
A representative from a local used car dealership then pulled up in a 2015 Mazda 3, and handed Gray the keys.
"They surprised me with a car," Gray said. "A brand new one."
In a Facebook live video by local reporter Jennifer Leslie, Gray could be seen breaking down in tears as students yelled, "Congratulations."
Leslie, of 11Alive, told InsideEdition.com that car dealership Carvana had approached her weeks ago. They wanted to do a car giveaway, and asked her if she knew any local citizen deserving of the gesture.
Because Leslie had previously worked on a story about the 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity appearing in "Miracles from Heaven," she suggested Gray.
"They really took the ball and ran with it," Leslie told InsideEdition.com.
The company picked out the car, paid the taxes, the title and the first six months of insurance, and waited until the second week of school before they surprised the custodian with their generous present.
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"It was fantastic," Gray said, "I've never been happier in my life."
His favorite feature in the car was the air conditioning, something he didn't have in his old car.
The custodian said he has been working at Dunwoody Elementary for two years, but has been happy to call the school system his home for the past 20 years.
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