car

Anita Singleton (image via WWL-TV)

A long and dangerous walk is soon to be no more, after a Slidell Police officer and car dealer combine to offer a surprise set of wheels.

Two days after a social media post about 52-year-old Anita Singleton's 6-mile walk to her job as a cashier at a Slidell Wal-Mart began to spread, dealership owner Matthew Bowers said he'd gladly offer up a free car.

The Facebook post that spawned the story came from Slidell Police on Monday and was attributed to officer Bradley Peck, who learned Singleton's situation. Bowers spotted a Twitter post of the story from WWL-TV and asked for help getting in touch with Singleton so he could "give her something to drive." The request spread quickly, and plans were set just a few hours later. A member of his staff was picking out a vehicle about 8 a.m., Bowers said.

"I think more of this as the community giving her a car, not me," Bowers said. 


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The keys will be handed over about 1 p.m. after Peck heads to the Wal-Mart where Singleton works, then shuttles her to Bowers' Chevrolet Dealership at 316 E. Howze Beach Road, according to a release from Slidell Police. 

"This is a truly inspiring story," said a release.

Singleton and Peck first crossed paths about 5:30 a.m. Monday when Peck spotted her walking over the Front Street Bridge. Concerned for her safety, he "quickly whipped around" his vehicle before noticing she was in a Wal-Mart uniform.

After learning she was headed to the Northshore Boulevard store, Peck said "m'am, that's a really long walk, jump in," according to the post. The pair chatted along the way about religion, life lessons and how she knew "no matter what" she needed to get to work. Not having a car was no excuse, she said, adding that she made the journey on foot at least once a week.

"That brief moment of me getting to spend some time with her made my day so much better. I don't think she knows how much hope she gave me and valuable life lesson she taught me," the post concludes. 

The charity marks the latest in a string of recent headlines for Bowers that span the gamut of emotions. The car dealer was notably behind the purchase of several billboards in Atlanta ahead of Super Bowl 53 that decried a no-call in the NFC Championship game that likely cost the New Orleans Saints a victory. Among those messages included the phrase "Saints Got Robbed." 

That message cropped up again in April on PGA golfer Jason Dufner's hat during the Zurich Classic, which Bowers took credit for providing.

Less than a week later, Bowers' dealership itself was in the news after a group of people, believe to be a professional theft ring, stole $120,000 worth of tires and rims from his lot. No arrests have yet been announced in the case.

Slidell Police said Wednesday's giveaway has been planned as a surprise for Singleton, who began her Wal-Mart shift earlier in the morning. 

Check back for updates. 


Follow Jeff Nowak on Twitter, @Jeff​_Nowak.