Community Papers

Local angels fly in with holiday wheels

Alesha Taylor and her five-year-old daughter Mattaya in the cab of their donated truck provided to her by members of the Penticton-based Rides From Angels organization established by Brian Brown of Penticton.  - Jennifer Smith/Black Press
Alesha Taylor and her five-year-old daughter Mattaya in the cab of their donated truck provided to her by members of the Penticton-based Rides From Angels organization established by Brian Brown of Penticton.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith/Black Press

Penticton’s Brian Brown donned his Santa suit again recently, this time helping a single Okanagan mom get a desperately needed set of wheels.

The week before Christmas, broken down on the side of the road in Falkland with her daughter Mattaya, 5, their pet dog and truck packed to the brim, Alesha Taylor thought her luck had run out.

The three were in the midst of moving to Taylor’s mother’s home in Kamloops when they became stranded.

While the 30-year-old was able to find a kind stranger who gave her a place to store her truck and even drove them to their destination, she no longer had any means of transportation.

Enter Brown, 48, of the Penticton-based Ride From Angels (Western News, Nov. 29, 2013) who noticed Taylor’s online plea for help.

“It was just before Christmas and I had no idea what I was going to do,” said Taylor, who was suffering from hip pain at the time that was so severe it left her unable to walk the one-kilometre trek to the nearest bus stop.

“I was searching for advice, help, anything.”

Brown immediately began spreading the word to the 600-plus members of the Angels organization he founded last year.

Not long afterwards, he heard from a Salmon Arm couple, who he identified as Dale and Debbie, with a 1991 Ford 150 pickup they were willing to donate.

By Boxing Day, Taylor was on the road again.

“Everybody came together,” she said. “Perfect strangers came together and now we’re getting around.”

Taylor is forever grateful to everyone who helped make her Christmas season merrier, and she too plans to pay it forward, possibly getting her own truck fixed and giving the Ford to someone else.

While he is quick to point out his personal role in helping was minimal, Brown is proud of the organization for what is being accomplished to help those in need.

It’s also why he would like to see even more chapters of Angels in other parts of the province.

“No matter where we are, if there is something we can do, we’re going to do it,” said Brown.

“Having more chapters, especially now with social media, it’s made the world a lot smaller and it works beautifully.

“We have people in Surrey now, people in Maple Ridge, this New Year I’m going to start getting more chapters going.”

He feels the popularity of the program is a result of how many good people are out there willing to lend a hand.

While he also donates to overseas help programs, Brown is a firm believer in the concept of charity beginning at home.

Rides From Angels can be found on Facebook.

With files from Jennifer Smith/Vernon Morning Star.

 

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