A 60-year-old housekeeper at a Bel Aire nursing home will no longer have to ride his bicycle to work every day after winning a car giveaway from a Wichita dealership.
Orr Nissan of Wichita on Monday gave the 2010 Altima to Walter Manuel, a housekeeper at Catholic Care Center who has been riding his bike 7.5 miles to and from work, or 15 miles a day. The dealership posted a video of the giveaway to social media.
“He’s such a generous and kind man,” Autumn Becerra, who nominated Manuel for the car giveaway, said in the video. “Our motto here at Catholic Care is to know, love and serve, and he is truly the epitome of that.”
Manuel, 60, had been riding his bicycle to work through rain, sleet and snow for nearly five years, Becerra told The Eagle. He would usually leave home at 4 a.m. to make it to work by 7 a.m., giving himself extra time in case he got a flat tire.
“He never wanted to be late for work,” said Becerra, who is Manuel’s supervisor.
“He’s a humble and kind man, always willing to bend over backwards for anybody, always with a smile on his face,” Becerra said. “.... anybody that comes in contact with him, you just can’t help but smile.”
Manuel, who has worked at the nursing home for 20 years, said in the video that he started riding his bicycle after his car broke down. But that changed Monday, when he walked outside and saw the black car with a big, gold bow on the hood.
“I saw the big ribbon on the car and the people smiling and jumping and the excitement and everything, I really had to hold back the tears,” Manuel said in the video.
Manuel started driving the car that day, Becerra said, just in time to stay dry when rain storms hit the Wichita area much of the week. And now he can sleep in later, too.
“It was a dream come true,” Manuel said. “... it will be a blessing to my family, too.”
Juston Whalen, finance director at Orr Nissan of Wichita, told The Eagle that over a hundred nominations were made in the car giveaway, but Manuel was “an obvious choice for us once we dove into it.”
“It’s extremely important to give back to the community,” Whalen said.
The dealership is located at 10625 E. Kellogg Dr., and the nursing home at 6700 E. 45th St. N. in Bel Aire.