Baytown family gets life-changing gift from local business

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HOUSTON, TX - There's nothing like unwrapping a surprise on Christmas, especially when the surprise is a new car. That's what happened to Neila Gaona and her family. To make Christmas a little brighter for the Baytown family, Bates Collision Centers repainted and refurbished a 2009 Chevy Cobalt free of charge and presented it to the family as a gift for the holidays.

"We fix cars everyday, it's what we do," owner Leila Bates said. "But there's a totally different feeling when we fix this car, you're fixing it for a surprise recipient."

Until today, Neila and her family didn't have a car and depended on family and friends to get around. "My parents and my sister have been giving us rides to school and home," said the mother of two. "Now I'll be able to drive on my own."

The collision center has been giving refurbished cars to needy families at Christmas time for fifteen years. With so many in need, deciding who to give them to can be tough, and that's where the Harris County Department of Education lends a hand.

"We have a lot of needy parents," Superintendent James Colbert said, "but we always have those parents who are the exceptions, so what you see is the parents who go above and beyond."

Baseball players from Sterling High School also gave the kids toys and bikes.

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