One might think that after nearly 20 years of repossessing cars from people late on their payments, 41-year-old Illinois repo man Jim Ford might be numb to the plight of those less fortunate. But earlier this week when Ford was sent to collect a 1998 Buick from 82-year-old Stanford Kipping and his 70-year-old wife Patty, who could no longer afford their car payments due to skyrocketing prescription costs, he knew he had to do something.
“When I got home that night, I said to myself, ‘They are a real nice elderly couple. I gotta do something. I can’t just take their car,'” Ford later recalled. When calling the bank and trying to work out a deal for the couple didn’t work, Ford had another idea. He set up a GoFundMe account in an attempt to crowd source the $2,500 the Kippings owed to the bank, and miraculously managed to raise $3,500 in just one night. And on Monday, Ford returned to the Kipping house with the couple’s Buick — after an oil change, fixing the headlights, and topping off the radiator — along with $1,000 cash in an envelope to help them get by and a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving.
“It was a miracle come true. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” said Patty Kipping, as a small group of neighbors gathered around and cheered Ford.
“I got up this morning and I looked up at the sun and I said, ‘I hope we get our car back.’ It’s just unbelievable,” said Stanford Kipping, a retired dock worker.
As the story began to go viral, people reached out to Ford asking to contribute and he reactivated the GoFundMe account, which has now amassed nearly $7,000 in just four days. The couple were also behind on several other bills so Ford is now trying to help them not only pay off what they owe but even get ahead. Either way, the Kippings have a lot to be thankful for this year.