Feb. 12, 2020—It was like any other day at Sunshine Quick Lube, a three-bay shop in Lillington, N.C., when Bert Walker pulled up for an oil change.
“He pulled up, and I was actually talking with someone else on the phone,” says shop manager Virgil Lawson.
Lawson recognized Walker. They're friends on Facebook, and the two families know each other from church. Lillington has fewer than 4,000 people. Lawson also knew about the Walker family's medical struggle.
Bethany Walker, Bert's wife, has been battling chronic Lyme Disease, which has come with painful symptoms. Walker says the disease took Bethany from running half marathons to using a wheelchair and being confined to a bed at times.
The Walkers sought local care and, through the help of a patient advocate, started seeing specialists. The medical bills are expected to get close to six figures.
"She has a variety of symptoms that are life-changing, and we reached a point that this local doctor did not help," Walker says.
Small Gesture, Big Impact
Knowing all this, Lawson decided to step in when the crew was finished with Walker's service.
‘When it was time to ring him out, I motioned to my assistant manager to let me take care of it," Lawson says. "And I decided we wanted to do something nice for him and help him out.”
It was a small gesture. Walker says that the shop didn't comp his service to make a big statement. They just wanted to help out a community member going through a tough time. And it meant a lot to Walker.
"We are living a miracle," Walker says. "Sunshine Quick Lube had seen some of my social media posts about my wife and decided to bless me with a free oil change. Since I had already set aside the money for the oil change, I decided to donate the $70 towards our fundraising efforts."
The Walkers have been fundraising for Bethany's treatment. They've hosted a BBQ sale with their homemade food (Walker says they sold 500 pounds) and are planning a vendor fair in late February. More than 30 vendors have responded to that.
Walker says those community efforts for the family have made big impacts, and Sunshine Quick Lube was a part of that.
"It is little acts of kindness like this that has allowed us to be able to raise $65,000 in such a short amount of time," Walker says.