News

Kind repo man surprises elderly couple by paying off their car

Posted November 27

RED BUD, Ill. — While most people fear the repo man, an elderly Illinois couple crippled by debt couldn’t be more grateful for the guy who was sent to take their car away.

Jim Ford has been repossessing cars for more than 20 years, so when he got an email from a bank with the directive to bring back a 1998 Buick Century from Stanford and Pat Kipping, it was business as usual, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ford headed to the couple’s home late at night — standard protocol for this type of work — and noticed the car in the garage. Since he knew they were elderly and didn’t see any lights on, he decided to wait until the next day to break the news.

“I didn’t want to disturb them,” Ford told the Post-Dispatch.

When he finally made the call, Pat Kipping answered the phone. He told her the bank had hired him to take back the car — on which they owed about three months’ worth of payments. Kipping told him that she’d tried to work something out with the bank, but failed to reach an agreement.

With just $30 left in their account, the Kippings wouldn’t be able to pay.

“It was very very sad,” Pat Kipping told the Post-Dispatch. “Stan and I cried. We were very emotional because we need our car.”

The couple's failing health has contributed to their financial hardship — Stanford Kipping is battling Alzheimer’s and congestive heart failure, and Pat suffers from diabetes. Unable to pay their rising medical and pharmacy bills, they’ve taken on mounting debt, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Ford headed back to the couple’s home the next day, and was surprised when they invited him inside.

“I got to talk to them, and they were the nicest people,” he said. “They knew I had a job to do.”

In fact, Stanford reminded Ford of his own grandfather. As he towed the Kippings’ car away, he knew he had to do something.

“I pulled over about a block away from their house and called the bank,” he told Fox2 Now.

His plan: Raise enough money to pay the remaining $2,200 the Kippings owed in order to own the car outright. He turned to GoFundMe for help, set up an account and went to bed. By the time he woke up the next morning, donors had raised $3,300.

Ford immediately used the money to pay off the car and took it in for a detailing, oil change and a few fixes before delivering it to the Kippings — just three days after they’d had to say goodbye to their only mode of transportation.

“I was at my lowest end when he came and got that car,” Pat Kipping said. “I thought, ‘This is for me,’ I was that depressed. I prayed to God, and God answered our prayer.”

One of Stan Kipping’s daughters, Grace Garris, was there when the Buick rolled into the driveway, and said it was a moment she won’t soon forget.

“I saw tears rolling down my dad’s face,” Garris told the Post-Dispatch. “I said, ‘Papa, there are good people in this world, a lot of good people.’”

Ford was able to present the couple with the extra $1,000 in cash he’d raised, and more is coming. There were so many requests to help the Kippings that Ford reactivated the GoFundMe account, upping the new goal to $10,000.

In just three days, strangers and friends have donated $5,660.

“It’s just like hitting the lottery,” Stan Kipping told Fox2. “I’m just so happy, I can’t believe it.”

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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