Standing at Elk Grove Ford on Tuesday, July 2nd, watching friends and family arrive to join in the celebration of Christina having won a car (A CAR!!!), I was overwhelmed with emotion.
For 30 days, the community that surrounds the Love family rallied together, leveraging social media, and traditional communication through phone and word of mouth asking for support from fellow little-league families, business partners, coworkers, anyone and everyone that had an email address and was old enough to vote. Anytime I ran into someone the first thing they would say was “I’m telling everyone I know”. People had offered to help fix Chrissie’s car, people had donated their own when she needed to get around but when it became apparent that fixing her car wasn’t going to help, those same people began to pray.
On May 13th, our sister Danielle heard an announcement on a local radio station that a contest was being held, a Super Mom Contest, and the winner would receive $25,000 towards a new or used SUV of their choice from the Elk Grove Auto Mall. She emailed Mom (Grammie) and Mom sent me (Gaby) an email from the UC Davis Emergency room explaining in her usual hurried way: “this sounds awesome, I can’t do it, at ER with Emily…see next email”. The following email contained an x-ray of Emily’s broken leg. The emails had come around 2am Tuesday, May 14th and though awake due to a rare bout of insomnia, I was anxious to go back to sleep. Naturally curious, I went on the Auto Mall website to see what was needed to nominate Chrissie. It looked simple enough, upload a photo and give a brief description of why you think “said person” is a Super Mom. The contest didn’t start until May 16th so I decided that would be my cue to go back to sleep. Laying my head down, I started to think about my schedule for the week and realized that it wouldn’t happen if I didn’t do it right then. So to my husband’s dismay, I was up until about 4am writing and then chopping down what I had written to meet the word requirement for the nomination. I didn’t know what to expect from this contest, I was half asleep but inside of me was a stirring of hope. As I finally lay back down to sleep, I prayed that God would provide. One way or another that God would provide. To which He answered “I will”.
It took 24 hours for the Auto Mall to approve the nomination before it showed on their website. Within hours, requests for people to spread the word were all over Facebook. On Thursday, May 16th, the contest launched and it was awesome to see how quickly Christina’s votes took off. Social Media was on fire as were people’s phones and email accounts. For 30 days, people diligently logged in to submit their one vote per day. People I ran into had such joy about them, in that they were able to help in some small way. As the end of the contest grew closer, excitement was high as Christina was in the lead by a long shot. Questions started coming up as to what kind of car Chrissie wanted and had she and Jason looked at safety ratings? Were they concerned about gas mileage? Could they trade in the dead Van sitting in their driveway? Did they need help inspecting vehicles? In everyone’s minds, Christina was getting a new car when the contest ended June 7th. In the last few weeks of the contest I got brave and started reading some of the other mom’s stories. I then wished I hadn’t because some of them were going through struggles just as severe as my sisters family; horrible car accidents, children in wheelchairs, taking care of ailing parents, sacrificing a car so they can pay for their children’s college expenses, drowning under medical bills as they fight cancer, etc. I sobbed as I read some of their stories. I prayed that God would provide for all of them, that if Chrissie was to lose this contest to one of them, that he would prepare our hearts as there wasn’t a single mom who didn’t deserve such a blessing. We trusted that God had a plan and it broke my heart that this contest was one of Super Mom versus Super Mom.
As June 7th approached, anxiety increased as there was a mom who was neck-n-neck with Chrissie. My phone blew up that night and all day June 7th up until 11:59pm when voting closed. I don’t think anyone following the contest went to sleep early that night. All of the text messages and phone calls I received were people telling me, “I called my cousins, they are all logging in to vote”, “I’m at a party, I’m having people vote”, “I just called everyone in my phone to ask them to vote”, “My Grandma asked me to show her how to create an email account so she can vote”. The outpouring of love, teamwork and selflessness was overwhelming and at 11:59pm when the contest ended with Chrissie in 2nd place by 400 votes, I was stunned. Jason and I had been communicating back and forth all night and my last text to him was “God has a plan. He said He would provide”.
Talking to Chrissie over the weekend, she remained positive. The rules of the contest dictated that an Audit would be taken of the votes and the official winner announced Tuesday, June 11th. The audit was to make sure people were only voting from one email account. A few people had excitedly reported to us that they had voted with every email account they had to which we asked “did you read the rules?”. We would laugh as they were trying to help but we knew that through the audit, we would lose some votes. When June 11th came, it was announced that the winner would be announced June 17th as they needed more time to audit votes. Some members of the family still felt defeated but quickly everyone’s spirit turned, knowing that God had a plan and no matter what, He would provide. A sense of peace came over us as we waited out the next week.
At work on Monday the 17th, I turned my phone backwards so it wouldn’t distract me as once again, my phone was blowing up. People were anxious to hear if we had heard anything. After a late lunch, I noticed a text from my brother-n-law stating that he couldn’t take it anymore, what time did I think they would announce the winner? I responded that it could be as late as 6pm, when their business hours end. Not even 10 minutes later, an email came through from the Auto Mall, to Christina and me, announcing Christina as the winner. I squealed, ran to my coworker’s cubicle, telling her what I had just read as I dialed my brother-n-law. I asked Jason if he was driving and he said no and I said good cause I just got an email. He put me on speakerphone so his carpool group could hear. As I finished reading it, he screamed “have to call Chrissie” and hung up on me. I then called Mom and read it to her. She was sobbing, repeating what I was saying to my Dad and then she too hung up on me to call Chrissie. Once again, Facebook lit up as everyone spread the word that Chrissie had won the contest. That they were going to get a new car! I was sitting on the floor in my coworkers cubicle with three of my coworkers huddled in with me. I was shaking. They were teary eyed as they could hear Jason and whoever was in the car with him screaming and they could hear my mom crying. Christina called then to tell me she now knew. She was home with just the girls and though she had seen the email come through, had been too scared to open it by herself. We both squealed with excitement and celebrated together over the phone.
Christina had lost the contest and then won through what manner, we don’t really know. From that first prayer on May 14th, God made it known that He would provide. Our confidence, no, MY confidence wavered, but that didn’t change His plan. God has answered a seemingly impossible prayer in providing a car for the Loves, but that’s how He works sometimes, doing the impossible!
Standing there on July 2nd, watching as Jennifer from Elk Grove Auto Mall presented Christina and Jason with the keys to their new Ford Flex, I thought, this is the product of a community of people who gave everything they had for 30 days, to help someone else.
As I was interviewed a couple times that night, the common question was “how (I) felt about winning Chrissie a car?” to which I responded “I didn’t, I just wrote the truth and everyone else did the rest”. I’m just one person. My votes by themselves did not/ could not win Christina a car. All of you reading this blog, YOU helped Chrissie win a car! As a community, WE won Christina Love a car!!! To which I say, TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
For further information on the contest please visit the following sites:
Elk Grove Auto Mall: http://www.elkgroveautomall.com/
To Read Chrissie’s Story: http://www.suvforsupermom.com/
Elk Grove Patch Announcement of Contest Winner: http://elkgrove.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/elk-grove-super-mom-to-get-free-suv-tuesday
Elk Grove Patch Story on Car Presentation: http://elkgrove.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/elk-grove-mom-wins-free-suv-in-super-mom-contest