HOUMA, La. — For the first time in his life, 26-year-old Chris Bergeron has keys to his very own car.
“I’m still trying to process that it’s mine,” said Bergeron after being handed his keys Thursday afternoon.
Complete with a big red bow his new ride is thanks to a community that came together for a stranger who works the night shift at Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Donuts in Houma.
“I hired him immediately. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever hired,” said Mr. Ronnie’s co-owner Kellen Picou.
When Picou hired him three years ago, Bergeron initially walked the roughly eight-and-a-half-mile round trip, to and from work. That commute got easier when he got a bike.
“I don’t ever remember him calling in sick,” said Picou. “Any time he was ever late it was usually due to weather.”
“I’ve pretty much had to walk and ride my bike everywhere even from since childhood because my dad’s always been busy, my mom has always been working,” said Bergeron. “I’m just used to it.”
Monday night, while at work, someone stole Bergeron’s bicycle seat.
“The community was pretty much outraged,” said Picou.
Hoping to identify the suspect, Picou posted what happened online.
“I just commented how terrible of a situation that was,” said Colleen Chiasson who happened to see the post.
What started as an effort to buy a new bike, quickly changed.
“I just had this overwhelming feeling that I could do better, so I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to buy a car,’” said Chiasson.
Word spread faster than the smell of freshly baked donuts. Within 24 hours, a $6000 got was met. Some of that money is from customers at Mr. Ronnie’s. Thursday, Bergeron traded handlebars for a steering wheel.
“It's going to make things a lot easier. It’s not going to be as hectic trying to find a way to and from and if the weather is bad, I don't have to worry about it,” said Bergeron. “It's really, really heartwarming and not at all anything I would have expected."
Keeping it a surprise was the icing on the cake, or in this case, the donut. There was enough money raised by the way to pay for the taxes, the title, and insurance for a year.