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McDonald’s ‘life-changing’ gift to 15-year-old boy with autism

Jessica Yun
·3-min read
Devon Winters and his family were gifted a car from McDonalds. (Source: GoodNewsNetwork)
Devon Winters and his family were gifted a car from McDonalds. (Source: GoodNewsNetwork)

A pair of Florida-based McDonalds operators have gifted a 15-year-old teenage boy with autism and his family with a brand new car.

Since he was a little boy, Devon Winters had been drawing McDonald’s iconic arches, reported local news network WJHG.

In October, Devon’s mother Tiffany put out a call-out on social media asking if anyone could find any golden arches so the family could install it on their property.

“[Devon] loves them and has drawn them a million times through the years,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

“If anyone has any idea how to make it happen suggestions are welcome!”

It turned out that Scott Owen, a supervisor for Johnstone Foods McDonald’s, had kept a pair of arches in his garage after Hurricane Michael destroyed a franchise in Panama City.

The owners and operators of that McDonald’s branch, Tim and Tracy Johnstone, said they knew they had to “do something special for him and his family” after hearing about Devon’s love for the golden arches.

“There’s a reason [Scott] saved those arches. Just having a piece of that destruction that now turns into something Devon treasures,” said Tracy.

The Johnstones not only gifted Devon with the signage, but they brought Devon onto the staff team to be an employee for a day.

“Our team felt a lot of emotions after Hurricane Michael two years ago, and to be able to turn around that fear and grief when the golden arches came down and make that into a celebration for such a deserving kid makes this really special to us,” Tracy said.

The Johnstones stayed in touch with Devon. Last week, the restaurant owners presented the family with a brand new family car.

(Source: WJHG)
(Source: WJHG)

The car will help Devon get to school as well as doctor and therapy visits.

Rhe gift “went so far and beyond”, said Devon’s father, Brent Winters. The family had just been trying to create Devon’s “wonderland”, with the arches just a part of that.

“We’ve been hitching rides for about 30 days now and we live about 30-40 miles outside of town so shopping is difficult. All this has been amazing,” he said.

“To receive a car in a real time of need is going to change our lives.”

Devon also received other gifts, such as noise-cancelling headphones, and new sketch pads.

The Johnstones said the gift was a reminder that acts of kindness could be uplifting in a year of challenges.

“It was truly such an honour to see Devon’s face light up when he saw his gifts—and to know that we could help him and his family means everything.”

“You hear all the negativity in the world. You don’t hear a lot of the good news stories,” said Brent.

“So it’s nice to be part of one.”

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