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Dec 25, 2015 3:51 PM

A car for Christmas: Struggling student gets unexpected gift from a Manchester donor

MANCHESTER - It all started with a frantic phone call.

That was the day Jill Silveira learned her daughter was in a car accident.

"Someone was weaving in and out, and she was trying to avoid them and spun around and hit the guardrails," Silveira said.

Daughter Courtney Silveira-Freeman was OK, but her car was totaled.

With nowhere to turn for a new car, Silveira set up a gofundme page to help Courtney raise money for a new car, describing her daughter's remarkable generosity.

"When she sees a need, she jumps in and does whatever she can. She started volunteering at my job when she was about 12 years old. I would drive a bus load of donations from the City Soup Kitchen to the elderly housing residents. She would knock on all doors of the residents and let them know we had food for them if they needed it," Silveira wrote on the web page, sharing this and many other stories of her daughter's legacy of giving.

That's when she got a surprising phone call from Thomas Landry, a Manchester man she'd never met.

"He called me about the gofundme, and after we talked about it, he told me he already did this, and I was like totally flabbergasted."

In a random act of kindness, Landry had decided to buy her a car.

"I had happened to read what she had written about her daughter, and when I saw she was in an accident, it really touched my heart. I thought that what's Christmas was all about," Landry said.

He went out and bought her a used Volkswagen Jetta for Christmas.

"What Tom has done for me today... I feel like I have a second wind," Courtney said.

In the lead up to Christmas, however, both Courtney's mom and Landry kept the gift a secret.

Then Courtney, living in New York, returned home for the holiday on Christmas Eve.

Come Christmas morning, she got the surprise of her life.

"I thought I was coming out to see my aunt... and I saw a car wrapped from Santa to me, and I'm just so happy, and I don't even know how to react."

For Landry, it wasn't that big a deal. All he was doing, he said, was the right thing.

"I wanted something safe for her and to put her mother's mind at ease as well," Landry said.

Silveira is just happy for her daughter

"She's very appreciative, very excitable, she does anything for anyone," Silveira said.

"It's so good to feel appreciated sometimes. When he did this for me... I feel like, I feel like... I don't even think this is real; it just makes me feel incredibly appreciated and loved."

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