This summer, Eliot Middleton, a South Carolina restaurant owner and former auto mechanic, made headlines when it emerged that he had given away more than 30 used cars that he personally repaired to needy people in his rural McClellanville community. Since then the mechanic has continued his efforts and even did a giveaway for the holiday season.
In June news Middleton’s good works reached viewers across the nation, and the response was dozens of previously owned cars being donated to the restaurateur so he could provide rides to those without reliable transportation.
When CBS News came back to check on Middleton this month the network found that by now he has given away more than 60 automobiles of all types, including 12 in December for the “12 Days of Christmas.” Many of the recipients were folks looking for employment, single parents, and elderly people in need of transportation to doctor’s appointments and everyday errands.
Aziare Green, a single mom who received one of Middleton’s repaired vehicles, a 2006 Honda civic, told the network, “You have no idea how much this means to me. I am always having to wait and borrow people’s cars.” “I’m so glad we were able to help,” Middleton responded.
The co-owner of Middleton & Maker Village BBQ opened up earlier this summer about what drove him to start repairing and giving away cars, telling the Washington Post, “There’s a lack of transportation in the rural areas, and I knew I could use my previous experience in mechanics to help.”
It all started nearly two years when Middleton noticed several families without transportation were trekking more than four miles by foot to get a hot meal at a food drive he hosted.
So in January 2020 in a Facebook post, he asked the community to donate junk cars in exchange for slabs of barbecued ribs. “So I just had an idea…..Instead of junking a car with potential, if you don’t really need the money, consider donating it to Middletons Village Barbecue!!!” he wrote. “We would like to help folks in need of transportation in rural areas that don’t have bus transit or taxi cabs or even Uber!!!!” he added.
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