Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Graduate gets new ride for new venture

Marien Elizabeth is stunned as she learns an anonymous donor had just given her the 1995 Ford Taurus in the background in the parking lot of St. Petersburg College. The donor read about Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome poverty and obtain her bachelor’s degree in Friday’s Clearwater Times.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Marien Elizabeth is stunned as she learns an anonymous donor had just given her the 1995 Ford Taurus in the background in the parking lot of St. Petersburg College. The donor read about Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome poverty and obtain her bachelor’s degree in Friday’s Clearwater Times.

CLEARWATER — Ever since her little Toyota's engine blew up three years ago, Marien Elizabeth has had to depend on others for transportation — to work, to class, virtually everywhere.

Not anymore.

That's because the single mother of four Tuesday received her own wheels — a sparkling clean 1995 Ford Taurus SE with a greeting card from the previous owner on the leather driver's seat.

As usual Tuesday, Elizabeth, 45, of Clearwater had strolled out to the parking lot after a day of work at St. Petersburg College to catch a ride home.

"I don't think I'll be able to give you a ride home today," fellow student Laura Delgado said.

Then, nodding to the car parked next to them, she tossed Elizabeth a set of keys.

"That's because you're going to drive yourself home."

"What?" Elizabeth said. "Get out of here. You've got to be kidding. I don't know what to say."

The two hugged and choked back tears as Delgado told her friend, "I'm going to miss driving you home everyday."

The surprise was followed by applause from fellow students and co-workers who emerged from hiding in a nearby building.

The Ford's previous owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said she and her husband were motivated by a recent St. Petersburg Times story describing Elizabeth's rise from poverty and hardship to receive a bachelor's degree in international business from St. Petersburg College.

A worthy person

The donor said she had prayed about what to do with the car and knew where it needed to go after seeing the story. She said Elizabeth, who has children ages 11 to 21, "seems like such a worthy person."

The donor's husband has disabilities that prevented him from getting in and out of the Taurus, so they bought a sport utility vehicle and planned to give their well-kept, well-loved Taurus to someone special.

That someone is Elizabeth, who will soon head to New Jersey, where she will start a new life as a master's candidate at the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University. Her career goal is to one day to work at the United Nations, where she hopes to make a difference in the lives of women and children.

Sharon Coil, director of the college's Women on the Way (WOW) program, said that having a dependable car would give the family's sole breadwinner a much-needed boost.

WOW has supported Elizabeth by helping her obtain scholarships so she could focus on school. She returned the favor by serving as president of the WOW campus club, as treasurer of the Student Government Association and as a chairwoman for various committees to benefit the campus and community.

Stress reliever

"It will take so much stress off her," Coil said. "Think of the relief it will provide."

Looking ahead to graduate school, Elizabeth had said she wouldn't know how to get around in a new and unfamiliar place — or even drop off the U-Haul trailer, for that matter — without a car.

"I thought it was going to work itself out somehow and it did," she said. "That's having faith."

One of the first things she noticed was the trailer hitch on the back. "It's perfect. Now I can haul all my stuff," she said.

With that, she and the donor headed to the state Department of Motor Vehicles to arrange for a tag transfer. We're guessing they had a lot to talk about.

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

Graduate gets new ride for new venture 07/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2008 8:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Trump shoves fellow NATO leader aside on his first summit

    Nation

    President Donald Trump muscled himself to the front of the NATO pack during a photo opportunity in Brussels on Thursday, pushing aside the leader of soon-to-be member Montenegro.

    In this image taken from NATO TV, Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, second right, appears to be pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump as they were given a tour of NATO's new headquarters after taking part in a group photo, during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday. [NATO TV via AP]
  2. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  3. See inside this Snell Isle home with an amazing chandelier and infinity pool

    Home and Garden

    When Elizabeth and David Samuelson started planning the house they built six years ago on Snell Isle, the couple envisioned a West Indies look with masonry stucco walls and a metal hip roof. As they moved forward, it evolved into something they describe as coastal contemporary.

    Elizabeth Samuelson and David Samuelson's at the entrance to their Snell Isle house which has numerous luxurious features yet is a comfortable home for a family of four. An infinity pool blends seamlessly from the terrace right into Tampa Bay. Doors surrounding the family room open and are then out of sight enabling the interior to seem more outside than inside. David designed and made a chandelier with hundreds of dangling, clear fish that hangs over the foyer.
  4. Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.

    Donald Trump will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via AP]
  5. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'

    Blogs

    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.