Bernice and Harris Wilkinson received a Christmas gift of a new-to-them car after Cariboo GM learned their car had been stolen.

Bernice and Harris Wilkinson received a Christmas gift of a new-to-them car after Cariboo GM learned their car had been stolen.

Christmas comes early for elderly victims of car theft in Williams Lake

Christmas comes early for elderly victims of car theft in Williams Lake

An elderly couple in Williams Lake received an unexpected early Christmas gift Thursday.

When Bernice and Harris Wilkinson woke up on Dec. 8, they discovered their 1990 Dodge Dynasty was stolen from their driveway on Pigeon Avenue.

Less than two weeks later,  Cariboo GM presented them with a 2004 used car, equipped with good winter tires, a Christmas CD in the player, and the promise that new veteran license plates are on order.

As the Wilkinsons arrived to receive the gift, staff at Cariboo GM handed Bernice a dozen roses and Harris the keys.

“It’s a perfect Christmas present,” Harris said smiling. “I had a New Yorker once for about five years, but it was slippery on the road one time and I banged it up so they paid me out.”

It was an article in the Dec. 13 Tribune sharing the story of the theft that inspired GM’s sales and leasing manager Dave Sacchetti to give the Wilkinsons a car.

“It made me incensed when I read the story because they were elderly, he was a veteran, and they couldn’t even get to church,” Sacchetti said, adding it took the staff about 20 minutes to decide it was the right thing to do.

Manager Lorne Doerksen said the car was a trade-in and the previous owner is “ecstatic” to hear the news.

With the car theft, Harris also lost a set of tools he uses for electrical work, but Bernice said that’s been covered too.

A few days after the news broke, a man parked in front of the house and walked up the Wilkinson’s driveway.

“He knocked on the door and when I answered he told me he didn’t need to come in and he gave me a $100 bill and said, Merry Christmas,” she said.

“We could use that for whatever we want we’ll use it for tools,” Bernice said. “It was wonderful.”

“I’m still trying to find out who he was,” Harris added.

“We can’t beat this Christmas,” the Wilkinson’s daughter Rose said.