Samuel James, a high school custodian at Citronelle High School in Alabama for the past 13 years, ended up needing to walk to work every day after his car engine unexpectedly blew up. At the time, and over the ensuing months, Samuel didn’t have the money to fix his car, much less purchase a new one. During a conversation with the school principal, Samuel mentioned to him that he would have to continue walking to work until he could save enough money to buy a new car. With many walking miles ahead of Samuel, enter serendipity: Shortly after that conversation, the principal found himself in a conversation with an English teacher, Deborah Pippin, and her husband, who had recently purchased a couple of new vehicles for their family and were in the process of looking for someone in the Citronelle community to gift their used Toyota Highlander to. The 10-year-old vehicle held sentimental value for the Pippin family, it was the car that they used to take their children home from the hospital upon birth, and they wanted to make sure that it went to someone in the community who was in need and lived nearby. The principal shared Samuel’s story with the Pippen family, and they gave the car to him. “I just can’t think of somebody better to be able to give it to,” Deborah Simmons said. “it’s … very special to see him have it.” Samuel was moved to tears by the Pippen family’s kindness, “I'm blessed to have this [car] and blessed to have them as real good friends, the Pippins." News of Samuel and the Pippens' story spread through the Citronelle community and was highlighted on the high school's Facebook page, with numerous members of the community offering commentary and support to Samuel for his years of service at the school.

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