When Somerset resident Neschelle Martin attended Dayton Toyota's Extravaganza Bonanza event on June 2, she hoped at the very least to find some leads on a new car for her daughter. But thanks to a lucky coincidence, Martin was able to walk out of the dealership with much more than a lead.
"I've been looking for a car for my daughter because she's in college and just got her license in February," Martin said. "She works hard and I've been trying to get a car for her but we didn't have the funds. So we saw an ad for the giveaway at Dayton Toyota and said okay, we'll check it out."
Martin, her mother and fiancé attended the event and like many others, got in line to get a ticket for the free car giveaway. But while standing on line waiting to pick up a ticket, another customer cut in front of Martin and got in between her and mother.
"Once that happened, we didn't really pay attention that they cut in front of us," Martin said. "But in the end, my mother had ticket 095, in between was ticket 096, and I was the one that got the lucky number."
The event at allowed the dealership to pass along savings on cars that were to be sent to auction, according to Finance Manager Derek Kochie.
"Everybody thinks of a car dealer as somebody who just wants to rip people off, but we don't always make money on what we do," Kochie said. "Since we were going to lose money on these cars by sending them off to auction, this gave us the chance to give a car to people who live around here, or give them the option to buy a car at a low price. Something like this helps out everybody in the tough economy we're in."
In addition to the giveaway, the dealership had horse rides, a dunk tank, free hot dogs, miniature golf and other games for a carnival-like atmosphere.
"It was just a fun day in general and a great community event," Kochie said. "We had the dunk tank set up so it wasn't a typical day at the dealership."
Bur for Martin, the real fun started when her lucky number came up.
"You would've thought I won a million dollars or something," she said. "I was screaming and jumping up and down. I've never won anything before so we were extremely happy."
After choosing a 1997 Toyota Carolla for her daughter, Martin picked up the car that same day and her daughter had an improbable surprise gift waiting for her.
"She just loves the car and it's such a blessing for this to fall into our laps," Martin said. "It's exactly what we needed and we are so appreciative. Sometimes you see these free car giveaways in the newspaper and think that nobody ever wins those things. You think it's just a gimmick to get people into the dealership. But the surprising thing is that people do really win. I'm proof of that, I'm a winner."