Houston community bands together to help single mother with undrivable car

HOUSTON – Dozens of KPRC viewers throughout the Houston area came to the rescue of a single mother after an uninsured, unlicensed driver crashed into her car.

The Barnes family

The now-undrivable silver Toyota Camry was not only the Barnes family car but also Felicia Barnes’ source of income as a part-time Lyft and Door Dash driver.

Barnes, who cares for her two children and disabled mother, spent hours per day on METRO buses looking for a new job after the crash.

On Tuesday, she had seven job applications pending.

When Barnes reached out to KPRC on Monday, one week after the crash, she had $7 in her pocket and $.61 in her bank account.

The response

“Immediately after the news, immediately after,” Barnes said her phone started ringing.

Viewers from Spring to Baytown to Friendswood and across Houston emailed and called KPRC offering to help.

“I’m so happy right now, I don’t know what to do. I’m just telling everyone, 'Thank you,'” Barnes said. “This is a miracle.”

Several owners of auto repair shops in the area offered to fix her damaged vehicle for free. Others arranged to donate to the family for other expenses.

“That money (will) go to shoes, supplies, backpacks, clothes, for the whole year,” Barnes said. “I still have to look for work. I’m just blessed to have a little bit (now). I don’t get high, I don’t drink, I don’t steal from people. I think, with God first, knowing that you’re doing the right thing, I think God will help you the rest of the way.”

Auto shop owner

“I was just sitting at home, relaxing,” said Hashim, the owner of Maaco Humble for 35 years. “I felt that I should do something for a person who is trying to help herself."

Hashim was the first of 35 or so viewers to call or email the station offering to donate to the Barnes family. He said he will fix the Camry for free.

“If it wasn’t for the community, I wouldn’t be where I am,” said Hashim, a Pakistani immigrant. “I know exactly where she comes from.”

During the recession more than a decade ago, long-time customers helped Hashim get back on his feet, he said. Paying it forward is part of Hashim’s business model.

“That feeling cannot be explained,” he said. “The feeling of satisfaction you get out of helping someone.”