Business Owner Fixes Old Cars, Donates Them to People in Need in Memory of His Mechanic Father

Business Owner Fixes Old Cars, Donates Them to People in Need in Memory of His Mechanic Father

August 31, 2021 by Cathy Stack

Eliot Middleton is a South Carolina restaurant owner with a charitable heart. When he isn’t busy under the oven hood cooking in his restaurant, he is under one in his yard, fixing broken-down cars. Eliot is also a trained mechanic who gifts the cars he rehabs to those in need in his community. Most of the people Eliot helps are single mothers, older people, rural families and the unemployed who desperately need reliable transportation. He does his good deeds in memory of his father, who was a talented mechanic by trade.

Reliable used cars are hard to find — and expensive. This makes life difficult for individuals and families who cannot afford a vehicle and reside in rural areas where public transportation is sparse. They have limited options of where and how they can travel. When their car breaks down, they often find themselves unable to afford a new one right away. They then must depend on others for travel. They lack the freedom to visit relatives, go on job interviews, attend medical appointments or church services — and sometimes even get to work. 

“There is no public transportation, nor Ubers or taxis,” said Eliot, describing his South Carolina community.

Eliot has provided the welcoming surprise of a new set of wheels to dozens of grateful neighbors in such trying circumstances. His mission is to help those who are seeking better opportunities but find that a lack of reliable transportation holds them back. He said his community is filled with good, hard-working people often forgotten by society. 

“They can't walk 40, 50, 60 miles to great jobs — they have to settle for small-end jobs that pay well below what they need to survive,” he noted. 

Eliot started his purposeful mission after the sudden death of his beloved father, Kevin Wayne Middleton Sr. For 17 years, Eliot worked alongside his father in his mechanic shop. He pondered how to find a way to incorporate his father’s love of cars and helping others. The inspiration for his charitable work came one day when his restaurant participated in a local food drive. He was distraught when he saw long lines of people still waiting past the scheduled time. He spoke to people on the line and discovered that most were delayed because they had walked miles as they were without a car.

That moment was a turning point in Eliot’s life. He made the decision to actively give his time and skills to help his community. With his sister Desiree, he started a foundation named Middleton’s Village to Village to address the need and encourage car owners to consider donating their vehicles before junking them. The car repair cost comes from either his own pocket or from fundraising. 

The new car owners receive the car, keys and title, all with no strings attached. When Eliot gifts the vehicles to strangers, they are overwhelmed by his generosity. His recipients welcome him with grateful tears and hugs. 

“Some folks don’t even believe it. They say, ‘That’s not my car,’” Eliot said with a laugh. 

“This is a lifesaver,” said one thrilled recipient, a single mom.

Eliot does not consider the time spent on fixing cars a sacrifice. He said aiding others has helped him with the healing process after losing his father. “It makes me feel like he’s right there. It’s helping me as much as it’s helping them.”

Middleton’s Village to Village was awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award for public service, which honors public and private citizens who show “the power of service to others in bringing out the greatness that lies within us all.”

Eliot’s thriving nonprofit has expanded since his story went viral. He received an explosion of donations, including funds and more than 800 cars. He now has a staff and a team of mechanics and volunteers. He plans to continue fixing cars and transforming lives one car at a time.

PassItOn and Foundation For A Better Life believe Eliot Middleton is a true hero. His action is a great example of the value of charity.  He is giving those in need the freedom to move forward with the next chapter in their lives. Please help us honor him by sharing his heartwarming story. 

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Your Comments
Karen from Bound Brook, N J JULY 8, 2022
What a blessing this man is. He is truly a role model for all of us. He has truly earned jewels in his crown of glory.

Lynise L Tarring from Hilo, Hawai'i  JULY 8, 2022
Thank you Eliot for sharing the joy of faith. You planted lots of HOPE and that's very much needed. God Bless and Make Gratitude YOUR Attitude.

Angela Jones from MEADVILLE PA  JULY 8, 2022

Patty Burzo from Fire Island NY JULY 7, 2022
You are an amazing man! it is heartwarming to know that through your generosity you find healing in your grief. May God bless you, though it looks like he already has! Thank you for encouraging me to keep my charitable heart even when things look sad!

Anonymous JULY 7, 2022
Let us be inspired by Eliot and take Action to do an act of kindness for someone who needs our help and our talents. Not just once, twice, but until it becomes a habit and part of our programming. Thank You Eliot for being there and answering the call of service.

Dorothy Vaughn SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

Mare McAnany from Philadelphia PA SEPTEMBER 1, 2021
It is a blessing to all of us, trying to navigate through these harsh times in today's world to learn of Eliot Middleton. This generous man has a heart of gold, filled with unselfish love. His beloved Dad surely put Eliot on his path to being there for others. Not a doubt his Dad is looking down on him with a big smile. Thank you dear Eliot. You are an inspiration to all of us. May your caring of others come back to you every day of your life.

Mariana Miller-D'Alessandro from Bronx, New York AUGUST 31, 2021
Amazing hero who with his father's death was inspired to continue care maintenance to reach out to those who don't have transportation in a community with no public transport! God bless him and his strength! Mariana

Cheryl from Oconomowoc WI AUGUST 31, 2021
Eliot you are truly an angel walking among us. What a beautiful heart! What a beautiful gift your father taught you!

Dale from Oklahoma AUGUST 31, 2021
That's far better than what Hollywood does. CGI has helped reduce this some, but have you ever wondered what Hollywood movies and TV shows do with all of the hundreds of cars a year they destroy for plot lines? They fill more landfills or junk auto yards. I'd feel a LOT better about Hollywood's charity if they fixed up slightly damaged cars, post production, and donated them to needy people like Eliot Middleton does.

Lynise Tarring from Hilo, Hawai'i  AUGUST 31, 2021
I treasure what PassItOn shares with us because that's how HOPE grows. Thank you and God Bless each and every one of you. Aloha, Lynise

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