10News LEADership: TJ Crossman

Posted at 9:42 AM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 12:42:11-04

(KGTV) - When it comes to lifting up someone in need and changing lives, it only takes one person to make a difference.

Owning a busy auto repair shop in Vista isn’t enough for TJ Crossman. Life hasn’t always been easy for him as a cancer survivor, widower and single dad.

Four years ago, Crossman discovered ‘Wheels to Prosper’, a nationwide collective of independently owned auto shops that fix up cars and give them away to people in need.

Crossman put out the word on social media and applications came pouring in.

“I’ve heard about people with cancer, elderly, homeless and want to live in the car,” Crossman said.

Applications came pouring in.

“It catches on; it’s infectious,” said Crossman.

Last year a car was awarded to 19-year-old Matthew Haynes, a heart transplant recipient who spent months in the hospital.

“When I learned i won, it was overwhelming. It was great,” said Haynes.

“I loved the stereo, the trunk, the seats; I love the whole car.”

Two years ago the Tapia family was selected. Their daughter has a rare genetic disorder and needs to be driven to Rady Children’s Hospital on a regular basis. The family car had broken down and ignited on the side of the road.

“When we were blessed with this it was an amazing feeling. I know I broke down and cried,” said Michelle Tapia.

Haynes and Tapia are grateful to Crossman, who they describe as thoughtful and caring.

“It’s just a blessing that a guy like him is around to give reassurance to those who have lost hope,” said Haynes.