Community helps surprise stranded Florida family with money for new car

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -- On Tuesday, Gray affiliate WKYT met the Tobin family, who evacuated from Florida to Lexington, Kentucky.

They talked about how fortunate they are for the kindness of strangers after a string of events left them stranded in Lexington. On Wednesday, they got another big surprise.

Emotion took over as Erika and Daniel Tobin read a letter out loud in their hospital room at Saint Joseph East. In less than 24 hours, complete strangers raised $5,000 to help the family purchase a new car.

The family evacuated their Florida home to escape Hurricane Irma, and while driving through Lexington, their vehicle broke down in the parking lot of Saint Joseph East. Not long after, Erika Tobin, who was nine months pregnant, went into labor and gave birth to her third child.

Photographer Kelsey Malicote heard about what had happened and wanted to help the Tobin family. She decided to sell T-Shirts and mugs that read "Kentucky Cares and So do I" to help raise money. Malicote got more than 200 orders online.

"I mean, it's just my time. It's not costing me a ton out of my pocket to say, 'Hey, if you want to help, here is a family in need,'" Malicote said. "They are awesome. They obviously deserve it."

Malicote reached out to Dan Cummins Chevrolet & Buick, and the dealership offered to help the family get a new vehicle.

On Wednesday afternoon, the family left the hospital and traveled to Dan Cummins in Paris, Ky. The dealership agreed to sell the family a 2009 Saturn Outlook for the $5,000 the community raised for them. The vehicle retails for $12,000.

The family will be staying with a family in Lexington. They plan to head back home to Florida in about two weeks.

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