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The auto mechanic profession has a reputation for shady business practices. Unfortunately, this bad reputation is due to some dishonest mechanics that do such things as overcharge for parts and services or recommend car maintenance and unnecessary repairs. However, like most other professions, many honorable people in the auto mechanic profession do great work. An especially bright spot in the auto mechanic profession is in South Carolina, where a car mechanic gives free cars to people in need. 

Elliot Middleton: Auto mechanic that repairs cars and gifts them to people in need

Elliot Middleton, an South Carolina auto mechanic, giving car keys for a car donation to a man in need
Auto mechanic giving keys for a free car to another man | CBS News via YouTube

Elliot Middleton, an affable auto mechanic in South Carolina, aims to make a positive contribution to his community. When he’s not cooking barbecue at his restaurant, he repairs donated cars and gifts them to rural people in need, as reported by CBS News

CBS News first did a story of Middleton’s good deeds in June 2021. In December, it did a follow-up story. With the publicity created by the story in June, viewers offered to donate hundreds of used vehicles. Overall, Middleton has repaired and gifted 60 cars to rural residents of South Carolina. In December, he “gave away 12 cars for the 12 days of Christmas.”

Car recipients: ‘No, that’s not my car’

Collage of photos an auto mechanic giving cars to impoverished people in South Carolina
Auto mechanic giving free cars to people in need | CBS News via YouTube

The recipients of the free cars come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are job seekers, single mothers, and older adults. During Christmas of last year, Middleton gave a 2004 Suzuki to Jessica Litchfield, a single mother. She described the car as a “lifesaver.” Another single mother, Aziare Green, received a 2006 Honda Civic from Middleton. She said, “I am always having to wait and borrow people’s cars.” However, thanks to Middleton’s hard work and generosity, she has a car of her own. 

Middleton described the expression of disbelief from some of the recipients of the free cars. He said, “Some folks don’t believe it. It’s like, ‘No, that’s not my car.” When asked to describe the feeling of helping South Carolina residents in need, Middleton responded by saying, “It’s beyond anything in this world.”

“They [car recipients] now know that there’s somebody in the community who’s looking out for them and care for them to be able to carry on.”

– Elliot Middleton

In addressing what his acts of kindness had taught him, Middleton said, “With somebody pushing the iron, there’s going to be folks behind you pushing the iron too.” Thanks to Middleton’s efforts, many rural South Carolina residents have a car to help push them to a brighter future. 

How to donate your car to charity

Would you like to donate your car to charity? If so, then you can donate your car to any number of reputable charities, such as Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Charitable Adult Rides & Services, Donate a Car, and various veterans and medical organizations. In addition to helping people in need, a car donation can also benefit you financially, for you can write it off on your taxes. 

Unfortunately, the car donation industry has a great deal of “fraud and deception,” as detailed by CNBC. However, you can take various precautions to protect yourself and genuinely help people in need with your car donation. 

The safest course of action is to donate to a reputable charity. Also, you can do some research and use a site such as Charity Watch or Charity Navigator to find charities that utilize donations in the most efficient way. Also, be sure you research the necessary steps to properly deduct a car donation when you file your taxes. 

Additionally, ask for a receipt from the charity organization and keep receipts of any repair work done on your car. Furthermore, to ensure that your car goes where it needs to go, drop it off in person at the charity. Take photos of your car as well.


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