So overwhelmed by the generosity of his community, volleyball referee Lemuel Buster could not hold back the rush of tears when he was presented with a new car.
"I said don't put me on Facebook,” Buster joked to InsideEdition.com. “And they started laughing and they turned around and said, 'Lemuel, these are for you.' I couldn't hold it back,”
The 76-year-old Navy veteran now works at the Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Georgia. During the games, he spends up to 10 hours on his feet.
Only two weeks prior, Buster’s old car broke down.
Parents, including Rebecca Jones, noticed him paying for rental cars he couldn't afford just so he could get to the games. She felt something nagging at her to step up and help.
"He didn't have money, he didn't have food, he didn't have his necessities. So I started taking care of his necessities along with some other people and we pooled our resources,” Jones told InsideEdition.com.
Jones posted on Facebook, and the community chipped in. A firefighter who also owns a used car lot donated a vehicle they traded for Buster’s 2004 Chrysler.
Buster was also presented with $1,030 cash, food, a Walmart gift card, a Visa gift card and a gift card he can use at his church.
Little did parents and students know the very car they gave Buster would wind up saving his life.
"I knew that I was developing symptoms that I had four years ago when I had triple bypass surgery. My ankles, the swelling did not go down. It caused knots right on my ankle bone. That's fluid," Buster said.
He never told any of the parents or students about his condition.
Not too long after getting the car, Buster woke up in the middle of the night — short of breath, barely able to get himself out the door to the hospital.
"I just bent over and just started trying to throw up. I said, ‘Lemuel, God, you gotta go.’ I got into the car, I could barely move. And I had about a quarter of a mile to drive. Went through two stop signs, I drove up to the emergency door there was a young lady who looked at me. As I'm saying can she get a nurse, she turned around and ran into the hospital,” Buster recalled.
“Next thing I know, there are doctors, nurses, critical care people around. They're putting a mask on my face. And all I can say is, 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe.'”
Doctors told him his heart was about to fail.
"I was within a minute or two of dying. And if it had not been for that car, trying to get somebody, I wouldn't have been able to get anybody to drive me and I would not have made it.
"I always feel like some act of kindness always turns into something big,” Jones added.
“I think that because Lem has the courage to say out loud, 'I'm scared and I'm nervous that I won't be able to be here next week,' it caused everybody to just jump in and figure it out. All the pieces came together and I believe that's how it was divinely made."
For this lifesaving gift, Buster is forever grateful.
"I said, thank God. That's all I can say. Because I know if it wasn't for God, I would not be here talking with you right now. It is a true blessing. I am very thankful and I am extremely humbled."
The first place Buster went in his new ride was to church.