PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Plainfield Township woman was given a new car by her co-workers after they saw her vehicle was in bad shape.

The car Susan Vanderwall had been driving three miles to work and back everyday had no front bumper, back windows or proper headlights. That sparked an idea in her co-worker to start a fundraiser.

“Susan is like a bright bubbly person and we wanted to do something nice for her. And we saw that her car was not doing so good and that she needed a new one,” said Madison Zimmerman.

Vanderwall now has a new ride, a Buick Century adorned with a wheel cover and accessories, all made possible by her caring co-workers.

The Black Pontiac Grand Am Vanderwall had been driving to her early morning shifts was in rough shape, she said.

“I’ve been with two windows in the back that won’t go up and down. So that plastic stuff you put in your windows in the winter? I’ve been driving with that on them. And I got hit in the snowstorm and the guy just kept going,” said Vanderwall.

Wednesday, a special gathering was held. Thinking it was a standard work meeting, Susan was pleasantly surprised with a new set of wheels.

“They handed me an envelope with keys and stuff and we went out and looked at it. And I’m going, ‘I can’t believe this. Who does this in this day and age for another co-worker?'” said Vanderwall. 

Madison Zimmerman is the co-worker who noticed a need and sprang into action. She created a GoFundMe with the help of her friend and manager to replace Vanderwall’s vehicle. 

“We went and got pop cans from people from all around Grand Rapids and brought them back and got money from that,” said Zimmerman. 

Maddie, Alexie and another co-worker, Connor, drove to Portland to buy the car. 

“We got an oil change, made sure it was all working fine, got a whole tank of gas in it,” said Zimmerman. 

The colleagues drove Susan’s new ride to work.

“We had a card saying ‘Thank you’ with the keys and the extra money we had in it,” said Zimmerman. “It was awesome. It felt really good. She cried and was like shaking and thanking us saying it was the best thing she ever had.”

Susan Vanderwall’s co-workers surprised her with a new car. (May 30, 2023)

“I did,” Vanderwall agreed.

“It was awesome,” said Zimmerman.

Now Susan can safely get back and forth from work.

“I mean, I’ve got two headlights cause I start work at 4 or 5 in the morning, so it’s nice to have two headlights to get to work,” said Vanderwall. 

The act of kindness came from a community who cares for her.

“We all love Susan. All of the customers love Susan. She was in the hospital like two months ago for like a really long time and every day we had customers asking us, ‘Is Susan OK?’ Asking us questions about her,” said Zimmerman.

Susan said the Buick is special to her for many reasons.

“I go, ‘It’s a Buick!’” she said. “I used to be a Buick person. My fiancé who died, he had like 13 of them at once. Most of them were antiques, so this is kind of like going back home.”

The next steps for Susan are to get her new ride registered and insured.