Blog, Faith, prayer

A big Christmas surprise gift

Christmas surprise for Sandy Cunningham

Christmas surprise!

It really is better to give than to receive – it’s FUN!  Yesterday Ray, our daughter Leah and I were able to participate in a Christmas surprise gift for our friend Sandy Cunningham, a young widow and a single mom. This made our whole Christmas!

Several weeks ago, Sandy’s mom Midge called Ray and told him she and her husband Russ wanted to buy Sandy a newer and better car for Christmas. Sandy’s parents live in Arizona and Midge asked Ray if he would mind looking for a good car for Sandy that they could buy for her and surprise her with for Christmas.

Through a co-worker who has a close Christian friend at a local dealership, Ray was able to find a beautiful red Pontiac Grand Am for a good price for Sandy’s parents to purchase for Sandy. They paid for it in full over the phone, putting the car in Sandy’s name and making sure it was insured first, and Ray, our daughter and I left yesterday afternoon to “deliver the package.”

How we did it

Yesterday Ray tried to text Sandy to ask her to meet us, but she was at work and couldn’t return the text or his call.

Midge and Ray already had made arrangements with the car dealership owners ahead of time for us to pick it up for Sandy.

They were excited about this, too, and even bought a big red bow for us to put on top of the car when we showed it to her.  But everything hinged on Sandy cooperating and meeting us after she got off work!

We didn’t want to risk Sandy getting off work early and not getting her present. Ray and I finally decided to drive to the dealership, and Ray drove the car with me following in our car to Sandy’s work at McDonald’s a couple blocks away. Sandy’s parents wanted Sandy’s reaction on video, so Leah would video the whole thing.

How do you give a car to someone in a box?

First, Ray parked Sandy’s car toward the back of the parking lot and put the big red bow on the windshield. We had a beautiful bling bracelet for a gift for Sandy ourselves, and I had put it in a small silver box with the car keys underneath the bracelet and its white cushion. Leah and I stood outside waiting for Ray’s signal to bring her the “present.”

Then Ray went inside her workplace to make sure that she was still at work. After he asked the manager for Sandy, he went to the entrance door and waved for me and Leah to come inside. The video, which I will post later, starts with us walking toward the entrance at her work.

Sandy’s reaction to the surprise

When Sandy came to the counter, Ray told her that we were passing through town (which was true – we were on our way to a church service that night) and had a little gift for her. She apologized for not being able to text or call Ray back because she was at work.

At this point, I walked in with Leah following me and discreetly holding my phone, videoing Sandy’s face. I gave Sandy the silver box and told her it was just a little something for her. She opened it and really liked the bracelet. In fact, later Sandy said she would’ve just been happy with the bling!

At this point, I could hardly contain myself and said, “There’s also another little gift under it!” I was about to BUST with excitement, haha!

She looked at Ray and me curiously and picked up the white cushion and asked, “What is this?” Ray said, “The keys to your new Pontiac Grand Am car.” We both told her it was from her parents. Then she started bawling! (with tears of JOY!)  🙂

All she could do was stand there at the counter, staring at the keys with tears falling down her face, saying, “My parents did this for me? Oh my God!” She kept saying, “Oh my God!” over and over, crying and laughing, lol.

Her manager hugged her and said they had just been talking that week about Sandy needing a new car. Her manager finally pushed her to go out the door to look at it!

Red looks good on a girl

As we walked outside, Sandy glanced toward the back of the parking lot and asked, “Is it the red one?” and when we said yes, she started crying and laughing again.

As we walked toward it, she playfully hit Ray on the arm and hugged me, and stared at the car in disbelief. Then Sandy said she was scared of it, lol – she said she had never had a car this nice before. She stared at it and then turned to us and asked, “Are you kidding me?”

Midge saw her picture on Facebook and said she did look kind of dazed. Here she is below, sitting in the car for the first time. She was very surprised and very happy. This picture of her shocked face cracks me up. Ray, Leah and I were all laughing, so excited for her.

Sandy's Christmas Surprise car

Sandy’s Christmas Surprise

When we offered to help her drive her old car back to her house, she looked over at it, scrunched up her face, and said, ‘No! I’m just leaving it there for right now!”

Sandy looks great in the red car! 🙂

I’m not sure who was happier with this surprise Christmas gift – God from whom all good gifts come, Sandy, her parents, or us!

What a fun surprise.

What an awesome opportunity for our family.

What favor from God with the car dealership, giving Russ and Midge such a good price on the car, and working everything out for Sandy to have her new car on Christmas Eve!

Love gives.

Love blesses.

Love rejoices with others!

I loved the big red bow on the front of it. That was so cool of the car dealership owners to help participate in this.

Sandy said this was like a commercial.

In the picture below, Ray is looking at her in amusement. Leah (in the right corner) is freezing in her coat; it was about 20 degrees F outside yesterday. McDonald’s gets some free advertising in the background in this post.

Big Red Bow that the car dealership owners gave us to put on car

Big Red Bow that the car dealership owners gave us to put on car

This was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done in my life.

It gave Ray, me and Leah so much joy and we were so blessed to be a part of it. Thank you so much, Russ and Midge.

What great parents Sandy has!

Sandy, have fun in your new red Christmas present! 🙂

Yes, it is truly better to give than to receive – like God did.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16, NLT



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