CHICAGO (CBS) — They are the heroes on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, working with some of the world’s most vulnerable: nurses at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
They normally take public transportation to work in Streeterville, but don’t want to because they worry about their young patients. Now they’re getting free cars to use, so they can get to work safely.
Emir Abinion, founder of Fox Valley Auto Group, was looking for a way to make use of the cars sitting in his lot, so he got an idea: loan those cars to essential workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.
“A lot of these nurses that I’ve spoken to personally are taking public transportation, are walking, are biking to work. What we thought we could do is give them a vehicle to use, so that they’re not using public transportation, they’re not spending additional monies using Ubers or Lyfts,” he said.
Abinion reached out to Lurie Children’s Hospital, who connected him with the non-profit Cal’s Angels to facilitate the loaning of the vehicles to nurses, starting Friday. Fox Valley Auto staff was also on-site, sanitizing the loaner cars and getting each staff member set up in their new rides, all free of charge.
“It’s going to mean a lot,” said Lurie nurse Jenna Miller.
She had been walking 40 minutes to work, one direction, after dark.
“It’s going to take away a lot of stress, a lot of worry. I no longer how I’m going to get home, or how much this is going to add up, and I’m very excited,” she said.
“We have to be filled up, and be able to be that emotional support for other people. So to have something off my back, and have this piece of my commute be easier, and know that I am free of germs while I’m driving, it’s really a gift to help me be able to help other people,” Lurie chaplain Erin Babb Krasowski said.
Abinion said loaning out the cars was his way of giving back to the people risking their lives to keep us all safe.
“During this pandemic, people’s live are full of fear, frustration and anxiety, and one of the things I found helps is to take the focus of ourselves, and put the focus on other people. We’re going to get through this together, and hopefully the good thing that comes out of it is people helping people,” he said.
Fox Valley Auto Group will be giving away 10 more cars to essential staff next week. They hope that other car dealerships will do the same.