After the tragic shooting that left 22 dead in El Paso, Texas, this month, a Ford dealership tried to help a man whose wife was one of the victims. Antonio Brasco had a blue Escape that the dealership, Casa Ford-Lincoln, made free repairs to. All good, right?
When some Casa staff members met Brasco at a memorial for the mass shooting, they found out that Brasco’s car–actually his wife Margie’s Ford Escape, needed the air conditioning replaced, new tires, brakes, and some other repairs. They all got together and covered the costs for the parts and repairs.
“Those are the little stories that bring us hope even in the midst of what is still very raw,” said Ronnie Lowenfied, who co-owns Casa Ford-Lincoln in El Paso. “I think our time and presence is the most valuable thing to help our community heal right now.”
Escape Is Stolen
The day after his wife’s funeral, someone stole Brasco’s Escape and totaled it according to Automotive News. Sometimes life can get really ugly.
The funeral captured national news after Brasco invited the public because he said he had no family, so he figured no one would be attending. More than 3,000 people showed up to honor Margie and show their support to Brasco.
Unfortunately his wife’s funeral wasn’t the end of Brasco’s tragedies. The day after the funeral, someone stole the blue Escape from his home. When it was recovered it was wrecked. “Totaled” would be a better description.
Lowenfield says, “I’ve just sensed people caring for more people, smiling, asking, ‘Are you OK?’ People wanting to find ways to help.”
In that sense of caring the dealership stepped up again and gave Brasco a brand new Escape to replace his wrecked one, and it’s the same color blue. “It worked out perfect,” said Lowenfield “When I was giving him a hug he just kept saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ I think he really felt the love of our people.”
After hearing about the Escape’s theft, Lowenfield found a blue Escape in his dealership’s inventory. His grandfather opened the dealership in 1969, and Lowenfield says he always tried to create a giving culture. It looks like that culture has stayed with the dealership and Lowenfield.
El Paso Cares
Immediately after the shooting Lowenfield handed $20 to each of his employees to give to the victim’s families, or first responders to the shooting. He probably thought that might be the end of Casa’s benevolence as a response to the shootings.
Those “initial feelings of shock, anger and sadness in El Paso quickly led to a spirit of rebuilding and healing,” Lowenfield said. “It’s who we are and our people have embraced that. I don’t know that any community could prepare for a tragedy like this.”