Mother of autistic boys surprised with free car

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 21:38:49-05

SAN DIEGO - A local mother was surprised to receive a free car Friday, courtesy of a friend's mechanic.

Becky Barnaby Blackham's 1994 Ford Escort died in September. It left the mother of two teenage autistic boys without a way to quickly get around.

Blackham said she lives at the federal poverty level and stays at home with government assistance to care for her sons.

"It's not the boys but the world that I have to deal with," said Blackham.

Her friend, Jan Brown, who is a special education advocate, tried to help Blackham find an inexpensive used car to buy.

Brown called her long-time mechanic, Tom Shin of Sheens Auto Care in Kearny Mesa. Brown first went to Sheens after seeing them on a 10News report about honest mechanics more than a decade ago.

"Because of Channel 10 years ago, I saw Mr. Shin on one of your news stories," said Brown.

It was Shin who offered to give Blackham a used Nissan Altima, for free.

"I'm just trying to be one part of that," said Shin.

However, Brown and Shin conspired with 10News to surprise Blackham at Sheens Auto Care on Friday.

Blackham arrived with Brown assuming she was going to look at a used car to buy. Instead, Shin told her she would get it free of charge with a year's worth of free servicing.

"It was priceless," said Brown.

A shocked Blackham was breathless before she grabbed Shin in a tight hug around his neck.

"Oh my God! You don't know what it means to me!" she exclaimed into his shoulder.

"Living without a car is a rough, rough road even without autistic kids," said Blackham.