Sheriff's office buys car for 20-year-old who is raising five siblings on her own
A 20-year-old woman who has been raising her five younger siblings on her own received the surprise of a lifetime when a sheriff's office gave her a new car.
Florida resident Samantha Rodriguez has been supporting her five younger siblings for three years after both her parents died from cancer. Earlier this month, the Orange County Sheriff's Office invited her for a visit, where they presented her with a new Nissan Versa, according to CNN.
"When they told me the car is for us, I remember thinking, 'They just took away all these worries and stresses,'" she told the news outlet. "It was such a big weight off my shoulder and will help so much."
When Rodriguez's mother and father died, she refused to let her siblings, whose ages now range from five to 17 years old, enter the state's foster system. She moved to Orange County, where her grandmother lived, and made sure her brothers and sisters were clothed and fed.
"I knew what I had to do," Rodriguez said. "I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family."
The sheriff's office, in fact, first learned of the 20-year-old's story last December. That month, they asked her and her family to visit and eventually gifted them with toys and clothes.
"We wanted to give them a good Christmas," Lieutenant Antorrio Wright told CNN.
This time, the law enforcement agency wanted to do something even bigger.
With the help of anonymous donors who had heard about Rodriguez's situation, Wright and his colleagues were able to get her a new car and, at the same time, share a priceless memory with her.
"It really didn't sink in until a couple days after," Rodriguez said. "Everything I plan now for the kids is so much easier. I don't have to call for a ride. I'm very grateful for it. All these people reminded me I'm not alone."