JESUP, Ga. (WTOC) - The holiday season is a time for giving, and sometimes that simple act can change more than one life.
A woman in Wayne County is especially grateful for one family’s generosity.
Take a walk in Kathie McAlister’s shoes, and you’ll quickly learn about determination.
“You have to work for what you want. Ain’t nothin’ a handout in life,” said Kathie McAlister, Wayne County Resident.
For the past year and a half, Kathie has worked at the McDonalds in Jesup.
“For the first six months, my boyfriend used to take me back and forth to work, but he had passed away.”
During a time when some would fall down, Kathie knew she had to get on her feet, literally.
“Nobody really wants to walk all that way, but you know, I’ve got to do what it takes, you know, to in order to keep a roof over my head.”
What used to be a 15-minute drive for Kathie turned into a three hour walk. Five days a week Kathie would walk to and from work, including on busy streets and highways.
“Yes I did walk alot in the dark, and it was very scary.”
One day, after Kathie finished a long, tiring shift, Shawn Oliver was driving along Pine Street, off US-301.
“And I rode past her and I knew I was supposed to turn around and stop,” said Oliver.
And she did. It was that stop on Pine Street that changed Shawn’s life.
“Being able to do for others is something I’m beyond grateful for.”
Shawn, her sister April and April’s son Hayden spent the past six months taking turns driving Kathie to and from work.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Kathie said.
A ride with complete strangers quickly turned to friends.
“I just talked to her like I did my friends. What’s going on today? How was work? Were you busy? You know, that kind of thing,” said April Oliver.
“She was offering to me to come over and have fires and stuff at her house, and just hang out,” said April’s son Hayden Smith.
Even after the rides, helping Kathie with bills and other expenses, Shawn’s big heart wanted to give a little more.
“You see that bow on the car. I bought this for somebody today (laughs). Go get your blessing,” they said to Kathie.
What a blessing it was.
“I’m like somebody pinch me. Is this real? Is this really happening,” said Kathie.
A reaction you wouldn’t trade for the world.
Take a walk in Kathie McAlister’s shoes, and you’ll quickly learn...
"It's always great just to be selfless."
"There's always someone in a worst situation than you."
“The greatest thing we can do is love.”
And to love is to give.
“You guys are truly a blessing to me, and I will never ever forget it.”
In addition to the car- Shawn’s church, Turning Point Worship Center, provided three months of insurance for Kathie.