SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Cody Aeilts is trying to start over in life and needed a car that would last him a long time. He came across a 2008 Chevrolet Impala listed for sale at Schulte Subaru in Sioux Falls for about $6,000.
"My credit wasn't the best at the time. I'm still in the process of repairing- was thinking that maybe if I had over half of the down payment of the cost of the vehicle down, then maybe they would finance me," Aeilts said.
"But he didn't come in asking for anything. He just said I've been working really hard. I've been saving up some money, and I want to see if I can finance the rest of this car," Dan Pankonin said, who is a salesperson for Schulte Subaru.
"I mentioned to him that I only had $2,000 of the $3,500 upfront- that my sponsor was hanging on to the other $1,500 for the time being," Aeilts said.
Dan went to his sales and finance manager, Jeremy Griffith.
"Lets work hard to get him a really good rate or something like that. From there, I think Jeremy came up with the rest," Pankonin said.
"I said, how about we just give him a leg up and just sell him the car for his down payment?" Griffith said.
"And they said how about we just sell you the car outright for $3,500, and that was kind of a tearjerker for me," Aeilts said.
Cody is in recovery and has been clean for the past nine months. He moved into a new place a couple of months ago and just started a new job.
"The gratitude that I have and that I can express isn't even measurable. The only thing that I could say is that it's definitely a God thing," he said.
Dan and Jeremy said they felt the same way.
"When everybody’s motive is pure, meaning he wasn’t trying to come in and get a special deal, we weren’t trying to get publicity. Everybody’s motive was pure, and I really think God just put his hand on all of our hearts," Pankonin said.
Cody believed Dan and Jeremy should be recognized for their kindness even though the two said they didn't do what they did for the publicity.
"It was just the way it should be, and we helped," Jeremy said. "I've been selling cars with Schulte for 26 years- probably the best memory I'll have about the car business," Griffith said.
"There was a time in our lives when being tough was more important than being nice, and I think we all three could relate on that and life is better when it's about caring about people and doing the right things," Pankonin said.
And sometimes doing the right thing inspires others.
"To see that not everybody's out there to do harm or to cause bad to people- that there's really good people out there that have good hearts and have good intentions and it inspires me to be a better person on a daily basis," Aeilts said.
Cody said this car will help him get to work, to meetings with his sponsor and just be a part of the recovery community. After he bought the car, he found out he goes to the same church as Dan in Sioux Falls.