Good Samaritan’s Social Media Post Helps U Student Solve Crushed Car Problem
Sep 13, 2020, 10:05 AM | Updated: 10:18 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A University of Utah student will soon be back on the road thanks to a viral post by a good Samaritan.
It was a simple act of kindness that made a huge impact.
The Wasatch windstorm on Sept. 8 left behind an extensive amount of damage and, in some cases, simply picking up the pieces wasn’t a solution to the problem. For Brittany Blackham, the storm led to an unwanted surprise.
“It was huge,” said Blackham, whose car was demolished by an uprooted tree. “The tree went all the way into the road. People couldn’t even drive by. … It totally fell, like, just right that it went over my whole car.”
The hurricane-force winds brought the century-old tree down on her Chevy Prizm. As a full-time student on a tight budget, she didn’t know how she’d pay to tow it, let alone replace it.
So as a last resort, she taped her Venmo account to her car window.
Ben Behunin had helped clear the tree off the day before, and he noticed the signs. Not knowing who owned the car, he posted a photo to social media in hopes the small act could help spread the word.
“My though was, ‘If we could raise $5,000 for this girl, that would be awesome,'” he said. “You know, a dollar doesn’t make a big difference to most of us, but to share it with somebody who really needs it – it really adds up.”
Soon, those dollars began pouring into Blacham’s Venmo account.
“People I don’t even know are Venmoing me like, ‘I saw this post from California,’ ‘Saw this post from Virginia,'” Blackham said.
Surprised at the outpouring, she wondered who was behind it.
“I saw this one from Ben,” Blackham said about one of the Venmo donations. “It was like, ‘I’m your neighbor, haven’t met you, I shared this on social media.'”
The two finally met, brought together by service. But for Blackham, it’s so much more than money or replacing a car.
“I feel like this is definitely an upside to my year,” she said.
With Behunin’s help, Blackham said she has enough money to buy a new car – and she’ll be looking for better insurance options. For now, though, she’s looking for ways to pay it forward.