A Mt. Juliet man is the proud owner of a brand new Mazda thanks to ABC's Good Morning America.
Sam Mullins' family and friends were standing by and cameras were rolling as Mullins, a married father of 10, was given the keys to a new Mazda CX-5 on live TV Tuesday morning. The surprise was part of GMA's “Great Car Giveaway.”
Mullins was nominated by his neighbor, Samantha Dial. She knew Mullins had been selected as a winner for nearly a week before the reveal.
In a letter to ABC, she wrote, in part, “He is the nicest, most dependable father who focuses on the kids.” Click here to read the letter in full.
Dial cited the family's only car, a 2003 minivan, as part of the reason he deserved new wheels.
“Their income will not allow them to purchase a new vehicle right now and any fixes are a budget issue for their family,” she wrote, concluding, “They are the type of people who would feel like someone else is more deserving than them and would definitely pay the blessing forward ten-fold.”
After the giveaway, Mullins and his wife, Kristi, were reluctant to see it that way.
“We don't live like that. We don't have some sense of entitlement,” he said.
“We don't deserve it any more than anybody else deserves it, but we sure needed it,” Kristi said.
“Yeah, that's the truth! We did need it,” Sam agreed.
Kristi was in on the giveaway, but never let on to Sam.
“We're just living our lives, you know what I mean? And then, all of a sudden our wonderful next door neighbor writes this wonderful letter in to Good Morning America about this crazy family, blended family of 10 kids,” he laughed.
Mullins and his wife, Kristi, work full-time to support their blended family, but have struggled to maintain the family vehicle.
“This is the third car I have tried to keep alive for him, and I'm not mechanic,” admitted Chris Dial, neighbor to Mullins and husband of Samantha.
“They always count their blessings in whatever situation they're in. It's really amazing to me, they're attitude is always such a pleasant one,” added Samantha. “This contest came on and it just seemed like the right thing to do.”
As part of the contest, Samantha had to answer five questions based on daily GMA broadcasts and submit an essay.
Mullins was one of three winners chosen from the across the country. The first winner, Corinne Pestana of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was announced Monday. The final winner will be revealed on Wednesday.