Utah college students give big to Portland man

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Our NBC affiliate in Portland, Ore., sent us this story about three Utah college students-- two from BYU and one from USU-- who pulled off a big surprise today for a man who has come upon hard times over the past couple of years.

At the Fly In, Cruise In, car enthusiasts show off their wheels. Jerry Miller had a car to show off, too. Jerry thought he sold his 1947 Chevy Coup to Alex Coombs for his grandfather.

Utah college students give big to Portland man

"We told Jerry it's a surprise, it's going to be for his 65th birthday. The story's kinda changed, but he hasn't caught on," Coombs said.

But Coombs and other Utah college students are about to surprise Miller. They are spending the summer in Sandy, earning money for school by going door to door, selling cable services. But Coombs wanted to help someone in the process, and that's when they found Miller.

Miller, a former garbage truck driver lost his leg in a work accident a few years ago. Money was tight, and he had to sell his beloved Chevy.

"It's so sentimental to him. He actually bought it from his best friend before his best friend died from cancer," Coombs said.

The students bought it for $9,000 and raised another $11,000 to refurbish it. They replaced the interior, overhauled the engine and gave it a new paint job. Miller even let them use his garage for some of the work. He had no idea all of this was for him until this afternoon.

The students gathered Miller and his family for the "Big Give" Jerry thinks is for the man pretending to be Coombs' grandfather. Instead, Miller learned he was getting his car back.

"I was feeling for them because they were fixing it up for their grandfather I had no idea they were fixing it up for me. It's a shock," Miller told us.

The students learned that in giving, they were the ones receiving. "It's the best feeling in the world to know you have the power to do this," Coombs said.

Though they paid $9,000 for the car, they let Jerry keep the money. They also gave his wife a day at a spa. They say they just wanted to help a stranger.

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Jane Smith, Portland, Ore.


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