Charles Gainey's prayers are answered at Team Chevrolet
F or the past six months, Charles Gainey says that he's been praying. He prays about a lot of things, especially that his wife will be able to walk again and not need a wheelchair, but he's also been praying a lot about his car, an eight-year-old Dodge Neon on its last legs.
"It needs a motor," Gainey says. "It was just about ready to quit."
Every time he took the car to go anywhere, he'd pray that it didn't break down.
Times have been hard for Gainey and his wife, Dorothy. Gainey, who is 70, had to leave his job building electrical cabinets eight years ago because of motor neuron disease, which is among the group of neurological disorders that also includes ALS, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He could no longer pick up the metal pieces he worked with. He's been fortunate that recently the disease has been in remission somewhat, and right now he can get around "pretty decent," he says.
Three years ago, things got bad financially after his wife began having serious health problems.
"She's been sick since August three years ago," Gainey says.
She went from a perfectly healthy woman to being bedfast for a long stretch of time.
Eventually, Gainey had to choose between paying on his home mortgage and paying for his wife's doctor visits and medication. She has no insurance, and they were paying around 500 dollars a month for her medical bills. Eventually, Gainey couldn't pay his mortgage.
"She comes first," he explained. He tried to work something out with the bank, but they weren't any help, he says.
"It was everything we could do just to stay afloat," he says.
Although he relinquished the house, which has sat empty for several years, the bank has threatened to sue him for money he doesn't have, and so recently he's filed for bankruptcy.
He and Dorothy are currently living in a small single-wide trailer, he says. He acknowledges that times have been tough, but he does what he can. He'd heard that there was a food giveaway at the fairgrounds last Saturday, so he drove out there, praying as he always does that his car wouldn't give up the ghost.
He got a bag of food and was thankful to get it, he says. Since he was already out, he decided to drive to Team Chevrolet because he knew they were having a special promotional giveaway.
They'd gotten a scratch-off card in the mail. "Every time they send one out, I always go there," Gainey says. He didn't win on his scratch-off, but a salesman told him that a car giveaway was coming up in the next half hour and that he should enter. Gainey registered and says he was "fixing to leave" when he learned that to win you had to be present.
"I said heck, I'll just hang around," Gainey said. He went out to look at the vehicle, a Mercury Mountaineer SUV. "That's nice, but I ain't gonna win it," Gainey remembers sayign.
When the drawing started, the first ticket wasn't a winner because the person who registered wasn't there. Same thing for the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth entry.
"I was back there praying," Gainey said.
He heard the name "Charles" but it didn't dawn on him that his ticket had been drawn. It did when he heard his full name: Charles Gainey.
"I broke down and cried," Gainey says. "I couldn't help it. The good Lord blessed me real good."
"I'd been praying for the Lord to help us and provide us something. He sure did. He answered that prayer, I'm telling you."
As he was claiming his car, he was told that winners were responsible for license and registration. Gainey explained he had only 20 dollars to last him three weeks. Sales manager Kristin Haynes made the decision that Gainey shouldn't have to pay for any taxes or fees.
"Once we heard his story, we decided to take care of it," she said. " He was incredibly grateful. I'm happy he came in that day."
"The Lord blessed me again," says Gainey of not having to pay anything to get the paperwork done.
Haynes notes that this is the first time Team has given away a car at one of their promotions - adding that they'll likely be doing it again. "It was fun," she said.
Now that his vehicle prayer has been answered, Gainey continues to pray for healing for his wife, he says. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in December, renewing their vows at their church, Living Word in Kannapolis.
Team Chevrolet public relations and events coordinater Shelley Smith was thrilled to see Gainey win.
"The car couldn't have gone to a more deserving man," she said."Charles is a man of faith and has such a loving heart. I hope his luck continues."