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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Former South Dade High School principal Javier Perez thought he was going to The Auto Firm to pick up his old car, which was supposed to be outfitted with hand controls.
Instead, South Dade Toyota hooked him up with a brand new minivan.
“It’s finally that freedom that I’ve been seeking,” Perez said.
The beloved principal who lost his legs after he was run over by a suspected drunk driver has had to rely on his wife for the family’s transportation.
“That’s the last thing I needed to regain my freedom,” he said. “A lot of times we take that for granted but realistically the last about five months that I’ve been home you know unfortunately we have two kids, they have activities, the different things [they do, and] we only have one driver, my wife.”
It’s a sentiment that Javier’s wife, Maytee can agree with.
“I’m sure when he goes and gets breakfast for us in the morning, as soon as the car is ready it’s like ‘yay’,” Maytee said. “It’s something he used to do for us on Sundays so being able to do that again and it’s becoming the man he was again so it’s a big step, something as small as that.”
The gift of this van and the work to make it accessible is something they just can’t afford now.
Perez’s bill for his first night in the hospital was $1.5 million. The Perez family says they continue to be surprised at the generosity of their community.
“Unfortunately we see a lot of the negative stuff a lot of times on TV but there are so many good people it’s incredible,” Javier said.
And just when he didn’t think it could get any better, another surprise.
“I had an MLB player call me this morning, Hector Olivera, and he said that the other wheelchair that you’re going to need, he’s going to give that to you for free,” announced Alex Vega with The Auto Firm.
These grand gestures are something that the Perez family will certainly never forget.