Eliot Middleton, a South Carolina restaurant owner and former auto mechanic, made headlines last summer when it was revealed that he had given away more than 30 used cars to needy people in his rural McClellanville community that he had personally repaired. Since then, the mechanic has continued his efforts, even hosting a holiday gift.
When news of Middleton’s good deeds spread across the country in June, dozens of previously owned cars were donated to the restaurateur so he could provide rides to those who didn’t have access to reliable transportation.
When CBS News checked in on Middleton earlier this month, the network discovered that he had given away over 60 cars of various types, including 12 in December for the “12 Days of Christmas.” Many of the receivers were job seekers, single parents, and the elderly who needed help getting to doctor’s appointments and running errands.
“You have no idea how much this means to me,” Aziare Green, a single mother who received one of Middleton’s repaired vehicles, a 2006 Honda civic, told the network. I’m constantly having to wait and borrow other people’s vehicles.” Middleton said, “I’m really delighted we were able to assist.”
“There’s a lack of transportation in the rural areas, and I knew I could use my previous experience in mechanics to help,” the co-owner of Middleton & Maker Village BBQ told the Washington Post earlier this summer about what drove him to start repairing and giving away cars.
Middleton noticed several families without transportation walking more than four miles on foot to get a hot meal at a food drive he hosted nearly two years ago.
So, in January 2020, he asked the community to donate junk cars in exchange for slabs of barbecued ribs in a Facebook post. “So I just had an idea…..Instead of junking a car with potential, consider donating it to Middletons Village Barbecue!!!” he wrote. “We’d like to help people in rural areas who don’t have access to public transportation, taxi cabs, or even Uber!!!!” he added.