Family Breaks Down In Tears After One Buyer’s Unexpected Move During A Local Auction

When a newborn child looks up at their parents for the first time, they form an immediate and intimate bond of trust. Mothers and fathers are tasked with imbuing positive values on their kids, and when unexpected events throw a wrench in those plans, children are affected most.

When a family from Alberta, Canada, had their lives completely uprooted after one fateful afternoon, two young children were forced to turn to their grandparents for help. What happened next, however, was something none of them could have predicted.

Brent and Nicole Keryluke lived a life full of outdoor activities and sports. They had two beautiful children, Arielle and Liam, and they were great parents, always encouraging their kids to make the most out of life.

The family lived in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. Nicole worked as a personal fitness trainer, and Brent was heavily involved with the gas and oil industry, working primarily with electrics and instrumentation. 

The couple met in 2005 and wed three years later. Not only did they both love physical activity, but there was another huge interest they both enjoyed so much that they created their own website for it…

It was mixed martial arts. Brent and Nicole followed the sport closely, and they would post the results of matches and interviews with fighters frequently. Even with all these interests, there was still one that trumped everything else for Brent.

Brent had a love of classic cars. His career had him working with mechanics, and that led him to a big undertaking: he wanted to restore a 1973 Pontiac Parisienne to perfect condition. However, Brent would never end up completing his project.

Arielle and Liam knew their father loved classic cars, and they even showed some interest in their father’s Pontiac project. But one afternoon, while Nicole and Brent were enjoying a ride on their motorbike, tragedy struck.

While driving on a highway, Nicole and Brent were involved in a freak accident with a truck, and both of them were killed. It was a loss that devastated all of their friends and family. 

Although all of the family pitched in to help, the children’s grandparents, Ben and Marilyn Keryluke, took in the kids. They were happy to do so, but it meant a lot of changes would need to happen in their everyday lives…

Ben Keryluke was semi-retired, but now he needed to return to work full time. He and Marilyn also needed to bring the kids to the Alberta Children’s Hospital frequently because both suffered from hearing impairments.

Life wasn’t easy for anyone in the Keryluke family, but the most important thing now was making sure Arielle and Liam had people in their lives who would shower them with love. Ben also decided to make one huge decision in order to help with finances…

He was going to sell Brent’s red Pontiac at an auction. It was a hard decision, but now that Ben needed an influx of cash to raise Arielle and Liam, the money from the car was going to help substantially. 

Ben was hoping he’d be able to pull in about $14,000 for the Pontiac. In September 2018, Ben, Marilyn, and their grandchildren brought the car to the local Electric Garage Auction to sell it once and for all. However, none of them were prepared for what was about to happen…

Nearly the entire community was at the auction. As soon as the bidding began, a man named Rod McWilliam who worked as operations manager at Red Deer Motors purchased the vehicle for a whopping $29,000! But then, Rod immediately did something that shocked the Keryluke family.

He donated the car right back to auction to open it up for more bidding! A man named Bob Bevins who owned an auto parts store eventually made the final bid for the vehicle at $20,000. But he didn’t leave with his prize…

Instead of driving off with his new classic Pontiac, he gave the car back to the Kerylukes for free! Bob recognized the sentimental value it had, and it was far more important for him to help the family through their hardship than simply add one more car to his collection.

Naturally, Ben was stunned by Bob’s act of generosity. It took a lot out of him when he decided to sell the vehicle, but now that it was back in his hands, he was going to keep it in the family forever. Also, the Pontiac wasn’t the only thing the Kerylukes got out of the auction…

The auction also raised almost $100,000 to help the family! Ben and Marilyn were left speechless by the kindness the entire community displayed. Everyone knew the struggle they were facing, and with two children’s well-being at stake, everyone wanted to pitch in.

Ben hopes that Arielle and Liam learn to appreciate the Pontiac as their father did. He envisions the kids driving around in it once they’re old enough, just like their parents did.

The Keryluke family suffered a tragic loss they’ll truly never recover from, but they were fortunate enough to have a network of support that wanted to ensure Arielle, Liam, Ben, and Marilyn knew they didn’t have to face things alone.

It must have been such an amazing experience for the Kerylukes at the auction. The act of generosity could’ve only been predicted by someone who’d witnessed an incredible act of kindness themselves. Someone like Luis Ocampo…

Army medic Luis Ocampo lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his girlfriend Kailey Finch and their son Lucian. Luis served in the North Carolina National Guard, and in September 2018, duty called him into action.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

Hurricane Florence, a Category 1 storm, smacked the coast with heavy winds and torrential rain, flooding cities and destroying homes. The Guard deployed Luis to the riverfront city of New Bern, which the storm hit particularly hard.

Anella Jane / MNN

While Luis and his local soldiers navigated the storm’s aftermath, helping anyone who needed water, food, or what have you, 20-year-old Kailey and Lucian headed for a place they would feel safer without Luis around.

The National Guard

Specifically, she took her soon to Luis’s parents’ house so she wouldn’t be alone for days. She left the family dog at home, where she checked in on him periodically. For a few days, the family lived like this — away from home and apart.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

On September 21, Luis returned home from his brief stint in New Bern. After helping people piece their lives back together, he expected at least a few hours for himself. But once at home, he did not receive a hero’s welcome.

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

With Kailey still at his parents’ house, Luis arrived at home only to be greeted by a curious sight: the dog — who’d been home all by himself — was running around in the front yard.


Even more curious was that the backdoor had been left wide open. Either the dog taught himself a new trick and opened the door himself, or some one who should not have opened that back door. Gulp.

Most telling of all, however, was that the window in his son’s bedroom was propped open: someone busted the lock with a nearby shovel and crawled into the home! They weren’t still inside were they?

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

Luis entered his house through the wide-open back door and looked around. There was, thankfully, no one still inside the home. But that was just about the only positive the soldier could take away from what he saw.

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

The intruder flung clothes everywhere. They stole a laptop Luis kept all of his school work on; they stole a video game system, a firearm, and even swiped food from the refrigerator! And they didn’t stop there.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

The thieves took a box of coins Luis’s grandmother collected from around the world — something immensely sentimental to the 24 year old. After surveying the damage, all he could do was stick his face in his hands.

Kailey Finch / Facebook

This was how Kailey found her soldier when she returned home. Wanting to do something to help, she turned to Facebook and wrote a status that she didn’t know would eventually change their lives.

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

“This soldier, my soldier,” Kailey wrote, “lost everything of importance…We are trying to get the word out and see if anyone has any information about who may have taken it. Please share and see what we can find out!”

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

A friend of Kailey’s, Mary Elise Capron, saw the post and felt an overwhelming sense of grief for the couple she loved dearly. She’d worked closely with Luis over the years and knew him as “an amazing soldier and person.”

Mary Elise Capron / Facebook

Mary wanted to help, so she set up a GoFundMe. “I am honored to know [Luis],” she wrote, “and cannot believe something so terrible could happen to someone so dedicated to the service, his family, and school.”

Luis Ocampo / Facebook

Mary set a fundraising goal of $5,000. That, she figured, would be plenty to replace the laptop and firearm, and to repair the broke bedroom window. Eventually, donations flooded in…and they wouldn’t stop!

In 11 days, the GoFundMe raised thousands for the couple, who eventually asked Mary to shut down the fundraiser! They were making too much money, they argued, and didn’t “want to abuse people’s generosity.”

But the public actually asked Mary to re-open the fundraiser after she shut it down at the couple’s behest: they wanted to help out this woebegone soldier! This made Luis uncomfortable, so he and Mary worked out another plan.

Mary Elise Capron; Kailey Finch

Delighted with the public’s enthusiasm to help a soldier in need, Luis, Kailey, and Mary redirected new donations to Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund, which helps local Guardsmen facing hardships.

North Carolina National Guard / Flickr

The couple even gave some of the donation money — which totaled nearly $15,000! — to a soldier who’d been living in a hotel after a Hurricane Florence brought a tree down on his home. Luis and Kailey turned a disaster into a positive moment.

“A big part of wanting to give the donations comes from seeing how generous people have been,” Luis said. “And I wanted to pay that back to someone else who needed help.”

Kailey Finch / Facebook

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