Lake Wales Woman Gets Back on the Road Thanks to Local Program

LAKE WALES, Fla. – On the outskirts of Lake Wales, Judy McGill finds nothing other than open road within walking distance.

Two strokes, a heart attack and no family nearby left Judy relying solely on her car to get to food, doctors and medicine. At one point, the 64-year-old had to choose between her pills and her car. Then, the repo man came.

“Without a car, there is no independence. You just sit and wait,” she said.

After hearing Judy’s story, I introduced her to Susan Jacobs, the founder of Wheels of Success. “We have a lot of people who apply to us who don’t meet our qualifications of working full time,” Jacobs said. Judy did not meet the criteria for a free ride, but she did qualify for a car under a new Wheels of Success endeavor.

On Friday, I took Judy to her new car.

The not-for-profit recently opened its own dealership. At the Automotive Buying Center, people like Judy can purchase dependable wheels for about half of what the car would normally sell for. “Oh my God. I can’t believe this … I can’t believe I am sitting in this car,” she said.

The Saturn has new tires, just 15,000 miles and a 90-day warranty. Wheels of Success sold it to Judy for $1,800.

Wheels of Success has partnered with Manheim Auto Auction in Lakeland which will allow other Polk County residents to take advantage of the program already running in the Tampa area.

ABC Action News